Coronavirus cases are climbing rapidly among young adults in a number of states where bars, shops, and restaurants have reopened — a disturbing generational shift that not only puts them in greater danger than many realize but poses an even bigger danger to older people who cross their paths.
In Oxford, Mississippi, summer fraternity parties sparked outbreaks. In Oklahoma City, fitness classes, church activities, weddings, and funerals seeded infections among people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. In Iowa college towns, surges followed the of pubs. A cluster of hangouts near Louisiana State University led to at least 100 workers and customers testing positive. In East Lansing, Michigan, an outbreak attached to a brewpub spread to 34 individuals ages 18 to 23.
In what health experts see as irresponsible behaviour in states like Florida, Texas, and Arizona and there people have started going out many without masks.
“The virus has not changed. We’ve changed our behaviors,” said Ali Mokdad, professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle.
In Florida, young people ages 15 to 34 now constitute 31 percent of all cases, up from 25% in early June. Last week, more than 8,000 new cases were reported compared with roughly 2,000 among people 55 to 64 years old. And experts say the phenomenon cannot be explained away as the result of testing.
Elected officials like the governor of Florida have contended against reimposing restrictions, saying many of the newly infected are young and healthy. But younger people, too, face the possibility of infection and death.
And governments worry that older folks are next.