Age group responsible for nearly half of new COVID-19 cases, study finds


For months, public health officials have said young adults are big drivers of the spread of COVID-19 in the United States, but new research suggests there is another age group that could fuel new cases of the virus: people aged 35 to 49.

This is the conclusion of a study recently published by Imperial College London in the United Kingdom. The study, which was published in the journal Science, analyzed mobile phone mobility data from more than 10 million Americans between early February and late October 2020. Among other things, the data helped researchers determine where people went, such as restaurants and grocery stores. The researchers then compared this data to rates of COVID-19 cases and age-specific mortality.

Researchers concluded in the study that “the majority of COVID-19 infections” were from people aged 20 to 49, but people aged 35 to 49 were responsible for 41.1% of new cases of COVID-19. virus. The people in their late 30s and 40s who were behind the spread of the virus were consistent across the country, researchers said in the study, but the “estimated contributions” of people aged 20 to 34 years were highest in the southern, southwestern and western regions of the United States. States.

A new study finds that the
A new study finds that the “majority of COVID-19 infections” come from people aged 20 to 49, but people aged 35 to 49 are responsible for nearly half of new cases of the virus. (Octavio Jones / Getty Images)

“This study provides evidence that the resurgence of COVID-19 epidemics in the United States in 2020 was led by adults aged 20 to 49, and in particular adults aged 35 to 49, before and after the reopening of the school, ”the researchers wrote. “These adults accounted for after the school reopened in October 2020 about 72.2% of SARS-CoV-2 infections in the United States.”

The findings overlap with research shared by the CDC in September. This study analyzed data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia and found that 20% of COVID-19 cases between March and August 2020 in the United States were in people aged 20 to 29 – the highest percentage of all age groups. The report also found that there was a drop in the median age of people infected with COVID-19 from 46 in May to 38 in August because of it.

So what is going on here? The latest data suggests that “due to work, school and general activity, the Middle Ages are generally very moving compared to the elderly or very young”, study co-author Dr Samir Bhatt, associate professor of geostatistics in the Department of Infectious Diseases. Epidemiology of disease at Imperial College London, reports Yahoo Life. This, he says, increases their risk of infection – and of passing the virus on to others. But, Bhatt adds, it’s “hard to disentangle” exactly what’s going on “other than the fact that they usually move more.”

Middle-aged people may also have more contact than those younger and older, says study co-author Oliver Ratmann, professor of statistics at Imperial College London, at Yahoo Life. And, he adds, those contacts can include people “very susceptible to COVID-19 infection.”

Still, Bhatt says, “the exact reason is speculation at this point – our work only looks at the signal for mobility, not the factors driving that mobility.”

Dr Amesh A. Adalja, an infectious disease specialist and a senior researcher at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told Yahoo Life the data is not shocking. “We’ve been seeing for some time that younger age groups 20 to 49 are behind the spread,” he says. While Adalja says that “it’s not entirely clear what’s going on,” he has a few theories. There are more contacts than younger or older groups.

“They may work more outside the home and interact with individuals than other ages,” he says. And since this age group is generally less at risk for serious complications from COVID-19, they “may be more risk tolerant” and more lax about preventing the spread of the virus, Adalja says.

Ratmann says his findings suggest that “non-pharmaceutical interventions” like wearing a mask and clear advice on preventing the spread of the virus are “so important” to controlling the spread of COVID-19. “Even with solid interventions and advice, part of the population will still have to move for various reasons,” he says. “Therefore, even while vulnerable people are vaccinated, measures must remain in place to control those parts of the population that still widely spread the infection.”

Adalja says the study and other data raise the possibility that vaccinating middle-aged people earlier may help control the spread of the virus. “It’s clear from this data where public health targeting needs to be,” he said. “There might be a theoretical benefit to vaccinating the group of individuals to reduce the spread.”

For the latest news and updates on the coronavirus, follow to According to experts, people over 60 and those with compromised immune systems continue to be at greatest risk. If you have any questions, please consult the CDC and WHO resource guides.

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