Story at a glance
- Anthony Fauci of the White House Coronavirus Task Force said that more young people are becoming infected with the coronavirus.
- While most cases are asymptomatic, serious illness is still a viable threat.
Following recent reports that the rise in coronavirus cases across the U.S. is in large part due to younger people contracting the virus, Anthony Fauci said Monday that the average age of new coronavirus patients has dropped by approximately 15 years compared to patient data from only a few months ago.
Fauci, the director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a key member of the White House’ coronavirus task force, added that the U.S. is still within the first wave of its outbreak, CNBC reports.
“It’s a serious situation that we have to address immediately,” he said, according to CNBC. “The average age of people getting infected now is a decade and a half younger than it was a few months ago, particularly when New York and New Orleans and Chicago were getting hit very badly.”
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Current national trends show people in their 20s and 30s are now becoming increasingly exposed to and infected by the virus. The alarming trend comes after some states loosened reopening restrictions around the end of May to allow popular spots such as bars, restaurants and retail service stores to operate without stringent social distancing or mask measures in place.
Young adults are also more likely to hold front-line service jobs that put them at risk of contracting COVID-19.
States including Florida, Arizona, Texas and California are driving the spike in cases.
Fauci did note that while the risk of a severe COVID-19 infection is lower among young adults, many of those cases are asymptomatic and play a pivotal role in spreading the virus from a younger generation to an older, more vulnerable population.
“Just because you’re 21 and you may not have significant symptoms that does not mean you can’t affect other people, and I think that’s something that we’re concerned about,” he said.
Additionally, Fauci said that the virus has a wide range of manifestations, meaning it could still have adverse effects on a younger patient.
Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, has also pointed out previously that some of the risk factors for a severe coronavirus infection are not all age-related.
“We do know that we have people in the younger age groups with significant Type 1 diabetes and may also have individuals with significant obesity,” Birx said at a White House task force press conference late last month. “We know that those are risk factors, so risk factors go with your comorbidity, not necessarily with your age.”
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