The Surprising Group of People Behind a Huge Number of New COVID-19 Cases

Early reopening and a failure to follow health safety guidelines could be to blame, experts say.

Our understanding of the coronavirus has helped us get better at slowing its spread, diagnosing early warning signs, and taking the right precautions to keep everyone as safe as possible. But the widely held belief that only the elderly or people with health complications are at risk has created some serious problems. Unfortunately, the latest statistics show that everyone may not be as safe as they originally thought: According to scientists, close to half of all new coronavirus cases in California are made up of young people between the ages of 18 and 35.

The surprising data, reported by NBC in the Bay Area, found that new COVID-19 patients under the age of 35 made up 44 percent of cases in the Golden State. That's up from 29 percent just a month ago. These numbers also correspond with a drop in older folks suffering from the disease. The share of patients over 50 years old sunk to 30.5 percent, down from 46 percent last month.

A young caucasian man wearing a face masks with a group of his friends standing behind him

"That's really bad, and shocking," George Lemp, MD, an infectious disease epidemiologist who helped compile the data, told the NBC affiliate. "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."

Unfortunately, California isn't alone in reporting increased coronavirus cases in younger people. During a press conference announcing that his city would be pausing their reopening, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez also noted that there had been an uptick in infections among people ages 18 to 35.

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But while experts are quick to reinforce their recommendations for all people to practice social distancing and wear face masks, statistics still show that age does have an effect on the course of the virus. Death rates increase gradually for patients as they age and spike exponentially after 54 years old. And for more on how your age affects your COVID-19 risk, check out If You're Over This Age, Your Coronavirus Risk Doubles.

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Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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