Young People Are Responsible for Coronavirus Spikes in These 5 States

Recent surges in many states are largely because of people in their 20s and 30s.

States across the U.S. have faced a resurgence in coronavirus cases in the past few weeks. Though places have started to reopen, people aren't necessarily taking coronavirus safety practices—like wearing face masks and maintaining social distance—seriously. And many experts are pointing the finger at people under 50 for the recent coronavirus spikes. In a recent interview with CNN, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Biology professor Erin Bromage, PhD, said "18 to 44 year olds are being infected at a really high rate" and are the ones, in fact, fueling the pandemic.

There has been a widely held belief that only the elderly or people with health complications are at risk for severe cases of coronavirus. However, this misconception has created some serious problems, and now, new data is showing that young people are responsible for recent coronavirus spikes in numerous states. These are just some of the states reporting increased COVID-19 cases among young people. And for more about how coronavirus affects young people, check out This Condition Makes Coronavirus Especially Risky if You're Young.

South Carolina

Scenic View of the St. Michaels Church from Broad St. in Charleston, SC

South Carolina coronavirus case numbers have surged astronomically in the past few weeks, propelling the state now to a total of around 27,900 confirmed cases, according to The New York Times. And roughly 20 percent of those cases are people between the ages of 21 to 30, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reports. Since April 4, the state has seen nearly a 415 percent increase in newly reported COVID-19 cases among this age group and almost a 970 percent increase in newly reported COVID-19 cases among those ages 11 to 20.

"The increases that we're seeing serve as a warning that young adults and youth are not immune to COVID-19," Brannon Traxler, MD, DHEC physician consultant, said in a statement. "They also tell us that younger South Carolinians are not taking social distancing seriously." And for more COVID-19 numbers to know, check out These 5 States Need to Take "Urgent Action," Harvard Doctor Says.

New Jersey

ATLANTIC CITY, USA - SEPTEMBER 20, 2017: Atlantic city waterline aerial view. AC is a tourist city in New Jersey famous for its casinos, boardwalks, and beaches

New Jersey has seen nearly 170,200 confirmed coronavirus cases, according to The New York Times. In April, those between 18 and 29 years old only represented 12 percent of coronavirus cases in the Garden State, according to state health officials. Now? They're responsible for 22 percent of cases in June.

"We are especially concerned after gatherings we saw over the weekend at the Jersey Shore and another bar in northern New Jersey," health commissioner Judy Persichilli said at the state's daily coronavirus briefing on June 23. "People of any age can get severe illness from COVID-19." And for better news about New Jersey, check out Two More States Are Now on Track to Contain Coronavirus.


Aerial over Piedmont Park with Atlanta, GA Skyline

Coronavirus cases in those 18 to 29 are also rising in Georgia, according to research from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC). According to their analysis, this age group now accounts for around 29 percent of the new cases so far in June—which has risen from only 13 percent in April. Nancy Nydam, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Public Health, told the AJC that the median age for new cases in June thus far is the mid-30s, while in April, it was the mid-5os.

"The increase in the number of cases among younger adults … is related to people being out and about, and in too many cases not following guidelines for social distancing, wearing face coverings, and hand washing," Nydan said.


A high angle view of San Francisco's business district on a sunny day.

California's coronavirus numbers have risen to startling heights in June, peaking at 6,419 on June 23, according to The New York Times. An analysis led by George Lemp, director of the University of California's HIV/AIDS Research Program, released on June 16, found that 44 percent of recent coronavirus cases in California were in people under the age of 35. That's up from 29 percent in May.

"It may reflect the opening up of California since mid-May, particularly among younger people who may have started to move away from the practices of social distancing and persistent mask use," Lemp said in an interview with NBC Bay Area. And for more on COVID-19 risks out West, check out Your Coronavirus Risk Is Even Higher in These States. Here's Why.


Florida, West Palm Beach,CR,GR

In early June, people between the ages of 15 and 34 made up 25 percent of coronavirus cases in Florida. Now, just a few weeks later, they make up 31 percent of all cases, according to the Associated Press. More than 8,000 new cases in that age group were reported for the week of June 14, compared to only around 2,000 new cases for those 55 to 64 the same week. NPR reported on June 22 that Gov. Ron DeSantis said the median age of those testing positive was going down significantly, from 65 in April to under 30 now in some Floridian counties.

"What we've seen now has been a really significant increase in positive test results for people in the 20s and 30s," DeSantis said. "Our cases are shifting in a radical direction younger." And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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