Public health officials are warning that younger people are making up a growing number of coronavirus cases in the nation as the virus continues to surge in several states in the southern and western United States.
As states have largely moved forward with reopening bars, restaurants and offices, the virus has had plenty of opportunity to spread widely across communities, including to people in their 20s, 30s and 40s.
“It is obvious that we are seeing right now infections that are targeting younger individuals,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said during a media telebriefing Thursday.
While younger people face a lower risk of severe illness from the coronavirus, a high infection rate among young individuals who are asymptomatic increases the chances of infecting those who are most vulnerable.
Arizona, which has seen a record number of cases and hospitalizations this week, reports people ages 20 to 44 account for nearly half of all cases. In Florida, the median age of those testing positive has dropped to 35, down from 65 in March, according to The New York Times, and Texas reports young people account for the majority of new cases in several urban centers.
Florida on Friday announced it is shutting down bars in an effort to mitigate the spread of the virus after the state reported a single-day record of new infections. Texas took similar measures, one day after hitting pause on its reopening process.
Redfield on Thursday said younger adults are helping fuel the increase in coronavirus infections.
“Young people, many newly mobile after months of lockdowns, have been getting tested more often in recent weeks and driving the surge in cases in the south and west,” he said.
“Our best estimate right now is that for every case that was reported, there actually were 10 other infections.”