When Young People Get COVID-19, Infections Soon Rise Among Older Adults

Young adults are driving coronavirus infections in the U.S. and are likely spreading the virus to older, more vulnerable populations, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, older adults were more likely to get infected, but when researchers analyzed cases from June to August, they found that people in their 20s accounted for the largest share of confirmed cases compared to other age groups. And public health experts say this is a worrying trend.

“This group is going to continue to transmit a lot of virus,” says Mike Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

The CDC report confirmed what many public health experts have long warned: Infections in young adults lead to infections in older people who are much more likely to be hospitalized and die from COVID-19 than people in their 20s and 30s.

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