In the Pandemic, a 'Smoldering Fire' Among the Young

Younger people account for growing number of COVID-19 cases, and that could lead to an 'inferno'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 26, 2020 9:06 AM CDT

(Newser) – Health officials were already concerned about a mystery illness in kids that appears to be linked to the coronavirus. Now, a new worry: COVID-19 is afflicting a growing number of young adults across the nation, with experts worrying that many cases may be asymptomatic and contributing to the spread. In Florida, for instance, the median age of virus patients in March was 65; within the past week, that number has dropped to 35, with about one-fifth of patients in the state between the ages of 25 and 34, per recent state Department of Health data cited by CNN. California, Texas, and Arizona have also seen spiking infection rates in this demographic, with the latter state seeing nearly half of its COVID-19 cases among people ages 20 to 44, and young people making up most of the new cases in urban centers in Texas, per the New York Times.

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So why a seemingly sudden surge among the younger set? The answer may not be that simple. "Is it the governor's reopening?" asks Eric Boerwinkle, dean of Houston's UTHealth School of Public Health. "Is it Memorial Day? Is it the George Floyd demonstrations? Is it going to the beach? We don't really know, but it is probably all of those things that are contributing." Even gatherings at private homes could be exacerbating things, with California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently warning about family get-togethers, kid play dates, and birthday parties. "It's [a] smoldering fire," UMass Dartmouth biology professor Erin Bromage tells CNN. "As more of them get infected, the chance of them interacting with the vulnerable population increases and hits that vulnerable population, and then the inferno just begins." Much more here. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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