Early in the pandemic, COVID-19 incidence was highest among older Americans. But according to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the tide has turned, and younger adults are more likely contract and cause the transmission of the virus.
In the report, the CDC urged young people to practice mitigation efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 so it does not affect more vulnerable populations.
According to NPR, the researchers found that between the months of July and August, people in their 20s had the largest number of confirmed cases compared to other age groups.
“This group is going to transmit a lot of virus,” Mike Osterholm, Ph.D, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said, according to NPR.
The repercussions of this trend appear to be that young people precede infections rates in the over 60 age group by 4 to 15 days, according to the CDC report. This older age group is more likely to suffer serious complications such as hospitalization and death from the virus. Osterholm pointed out that younger people are more mobile and now that many states have reopened, have more contact with the elderly.
Dr. Anthony Fauci has pleaded with young Americans who have tested positive for COVID-19 to take responsibility and follow safety guidelines so that they do not spread the disease to vulnerable people.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned young people that “a risk for you is not just isolated for you. You are innocently and inadvertently propagating the process of a pandemic,” according to Fox News. He was referring to the large number of young Americans who do not take social distancing to heart and continue to meet up with friends which he said was understandable.
“But when you do that, you are part of a process. When you get infected, you will infect someone else who will infect someone else, and ultimately you will infect someone who is vulnerable,” he stated.
Vice President Mike Pence said he applauded young people for getting tested, noting that the age group is less likely to be symptomatic and are less susceptible. However, he cautioned, “none of us want to bring the disease back to our parents, grandparents, moms and dads … or a friend who has an immunodeficiency.”
Last week, Gov. Tony Evers of Wisconsin declared a public health emergency linked to increased cases of COVID-19 infection among 18- to 24-year-olds in his state, according to NPR. By late July, people under 35 accounted for half the new cases of the coronavirus in California.
Experts say that “shaming” young people into following COVID-19 guidelines is not the way to change their behavior. Instead, Ryyn Schumacher of Contra Costa Health Services has launched an initiative called the COVID-19 Youth Program to tap into youth leadership.
“It talks about their voice, their story, their brand and the message becomes a lot more authentic and genuine,” Schumacher said, according to NPR.
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