This Is Who Could Cause Your State to Return to Lockdown
Despite good numbers early on, this one demographic could jeopardize everything, according to research.
During the past few months, sheltering in place, hand washing, and wearing face masks became new facts of life. But with new cases of COVID-19 declining in some areas, certain states have slowly begun the early phases of reopening shops, restaurants, and cafes that have been closed for weeks, if not months. Unfortunately, some medical experts believe that this return to pre-coronavirus life may be premature. Now, significant jumps in infections are occurring in an unlikely demographic: people under 40, The Daily Beast reports. As a result, states that were slowly getting back to normal may see lockdown start all over again.
Recently reopened bars and restaurants have young people returning to service industry jobs in a massive reversal of pre-lockdown behavior. Combine this with the lack of social distancing witnessed in at the infamous Lake of the Ozarks party, bars in Texas, and protest marches across the country, and the spike in numbers begins to make sense.
According to public data from the Washington Department of Health, half of newly reported infections in early May were occurring in people under 40. This shows a dramatic change from pre-lockdown numbers, which had older age groups making up more than two-thirds of reported cases in the state.
“In eight weeks, our demographic slipped from majority over age 60 to majority under age 40,” study author and epidemiologist Judith Malmgren, MD, told The Daily Beast. “As the epidemic got under control and people over 60 followed pretty strict social distancing and guidelines, the infection rate went down in that portion of the population. But we didn’t have the same messaging—had no messaging, basically—to young people that there’s a danger to you.”
As summer weather returns and brings the longing for pool parties and outdoor gatherings with it, some medical experts fear these numbers could become part of a growing trend. “If what’s happening in Washington becomes true nationally, we have a problem,” Irwin Redlener, MD, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University and an expert on U.S. readiness for pandemics, told The Daily Beast. “Every state and the federal government need to be following this very, very closely.” And if you're wondering which places are at risk of renewed shelter in place orders, check out 8 States Where Coronavirus Cases Are Skyrocketing Right Now.