Story at a glance

  • “Take your hat off to the young, because they have a hell of an immune system. But it affects virtually nobody. It’s an amazing thing,” Trump said.
  • The coronavirus is much more likely to be fatal in older people and those with underlying conditions, but public health officials have warned young people are not immune to the virus and can still suffer serious health outcomes.
  • A study released by the CDC last week found more than 120 people aged 21 and younger died of COVID-19 between February and July. Most had underlying health conditions or were people of color, according to the report.

President Trump on Monday claimed the coronavirus “virtually” affects no young people during a campaign rally in Ohio as the number of COVID-19 deaths nears 200,000 and the number of infections has surpassed 6.8 million. 

“It affects elderly people. Elderly people with heart problems and other problems. If they have other problems, that’s what it really affects,” Trump said during a campaign rally at an airport in Swanton, Ohio. 


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“That’s it. You know, in some states, thousands of people, nobody young. Below the age of 18, like, nobody,” Trump said. “Take your hat off to the young, because they have a hell of an immune system. But it affects virtually nobody. It’s an amazing thing.” 

While COVID-19 remains a more serious and prevalent threat to older adults and those with underlying conditions, public health officials have warned that young people are not immune to the disease and could still suffer serious health outcomes. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), young people age 17 and younger makeup 8.4 percent of coronavirus cases in the U.S., while those ages 18-29 make up more than 23 percent. 

A study released by the CDC last week found more than 120 people aged 21 and younger died of COVID-19 between February and July. Most had underlying health conditions or were people of color, according to the report. 

“Although infants, children, and adolescents are more likely to have milder COVID-19 illness than are adults, complications, including [Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in children] and respiratory failure, do occur in these populations,” the researchers wrote. 

The World Health Organization last month also warned that young people are becoming primary spreaders of COVID-19 in many countries. 

Trump’s comments stand in contrast to what he told veteran journalist Bob Woodward in an interview in March. In one interview with Woodward for his book “Rage,” Trump acknowledged the virus in fact poses a threat to young people. 

“Now, it’s turning out, it’s not just old people, Bob,” Trump told Woodward. “Just today and yesterday, some startling facts came out. It’s not just older...It’s plenty of young people.” 


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Published on Sep 22, 2020