BERKELEY, Calif. (KRON) – Contrary to earlier beliefs, more and more young people are now getting infected with COVID-19.
One Bay Area county is trying to reverse this trend.
Nearly 100,000 youth tested positive for coronavirus in the US during the last two weeks in July.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that’s a 40% increase in child infections across the states and cities studied.
A UC Berkeley infectious disease expert says the stats are changing our understanding of a virus that was first believed to be a problem mostly for older people, because of who was winding up in the hospital and before we understood asymptomatic spread.
“The image that people have is that children are OK. They’re not gonna get real sick. Children, young adults, they tend to be doing things that are less safe doing things, like not social distancing, doing things like not wearing a mask. To now see this large emergence of cases in younger people, it’s not at all surprising. And I think it’s reflective how badly Americans are dealing with this pandemic in terms of taking personal responsibility,” Dr. John Swartzberg said.
In the Bay Area, many counties are showing the number of positive cases is growing among young adults.
In San Francisco, 35% of cases are people aged 30 and younger.
“Younger people have to understand it’s true that they’re less likely get seriously ill and less likely to die than older people but younger people do get real sick just think about that lady who had to have a double lung transplant in her 20s,” Swartzberg said.
People 30 and younger also make up roughly 35% of Contra Costa County positive cases.
Health officials there have just launched a Youth Ambassador Program.
They are in the process of selecting 25 young people between the ages of 15 and 24 to help develop social media campaigns to help influence other young people to protect themselves and their families from the virus.