a female bartender pours a drink while wearing a mask

Young Adults Are Getting COVID-19 at High Rates

Why it’s happening, and why it matters

This summer, the CDC reported that young adults were getting COVID-19 at higher rates than older adults. From June to August, the age group with the most new cases was people in their 20’s, followed by people in their 30’s.

Why are young people getting COVID-19 so frequently? What does it mean for them, and for older adults? And what can young adults do to protect themselves and their communities?

Reasons for the Increase in Cases

There are many possible reasons why young adults represent such a high number of new cases. Young adults are:

  • More likely to work in restaurants, stores, and childcare centers, which are all high risk places.
  • Often less strict about physical distancing and avoiding social gatherings.
  • More likely to have mild cases or no symptoms at all, so they’re less aware of spreading the virus.
  • Going back to college campuses, where outbreaks have been common.

Why It Matters

COVID-19 infections in young people can quickly spread to older people, who are more vulnerable to serious harm from the virus. A study this summer found that after a rise of cases in 20 and 30 year olds, cases went up for people in their 60’s just nine days later.

While older people are more likely to develop severe cases, the virus can seriously impact younger adults. Young, healthy people can find themselves hospitalized or suffering from months of severe, lingering symptoms from the virus. And while the rates are low, young adults can die from the virus.

How Young Adults Can Help

Our actions can have serious consequences for the more vulnerable people in our communities. If you’re a young person, here are some things you can do to help flatten the curve:

  • Unless you have to for work, avoid restaurants and bars. Limit trips to stores as much as possible.
  • Practice physical distancing and wear a mask whenever you’re in public, even outside!
  • If you socialize with people you don’t live with, see them outside and at a distance.
  • Make sure you’re getting accurate, up-to-date information about the virus from sources like the CDC.
  • Get a flu shot to prevent dueling pandemics.

COVID-19 is a public health crisis, and we can only beat it by working together. Preventative measures like masks and physical distancing can make a huge difference. Remember, the sooner we can lower our cases, the sooner it will actually be safe to get out and have fun.


AARP. When Coronavirus Symptoms Refuse to Go Away

CDC. Changing Age Distribution of the COVID-19 Pandemic

LA Times. Young adults are now the largest group of Americans getting COVID-19, CDC says

New York Times. Virus Cases Surged in Young Adults. The Elderly Were Hit Next

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