Young adults account for more COVID-19 cases than any other age group, CDC says


People in their 20s now account for more COVID-19 infections than any other age group, according to a new analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The median age of people infected with COVID-19 declined from June through August across all states, regardless of whether overall cases increased, the CDC found.

Nationwide, the median age of COVID-19 cases declined from 46 years old in May to 37 years old in July and 38 years old in August. 

While older Americans were the ones disproportionately affected early in the pandemic, young adults aged 20 to 29 now account for 20 percent of all cases. 

The findings suggest that young people are not as immune to the virus as some previously thought, and that young adults are contributing to the community spread of the virus, including to people at high risk for more severe illness. 

For example, Southern states experienced regional outbreaks of COVID-19 in June. According to the CDC, increases in infections among adults aged 20–39 years were followed a little over a week later by an increase in people older than 60.

Still, President Trump continues to downplay the full extent of the virus, publicly saying it only affects the elderly.

During a rally in Ohio this week, Trump at one point said the coronavirus “affects virtually nobody,” and it was “elderly people, elderly people with heart problems, and other problems. If they have other problems, that’s what it really affects. That’s it.”

More than 200,000 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19, and America has done a poor job of controlling the outbreak. But going forward, the report said targeted mitigation among young people should be emphasized, along with general measures like restricting the size of in-person gatherings, mask requirements and physical distancing. 

Young adults are more likely to have mild or no symptoms, which could add to their belief that they are not at risk. The report said this can contribute to asymptomatic spread of the virus.

The report’s authors noted that young adults account for a large portion of jobs in businesses with high potential for exposure, such as retail stores, restaurants and bars, entertainment and child care services.

The report also notes an infection “is not benign in younger adults, especially among those with underlying medical conditions, who are at risk for hospitalization, severe illness, and death.”

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