When the number of COVID-19 cases peaked in Connecticut in April, the highest number of reported cases was among 50- to 59-year-olds, but as cases continue to climb back up cases among 20- to 29-year-olds are piling up much faster.
“The kids are social that’s what they’re supposed to do at this age so it’s very hard even for college kids. They want to congregate. This is their occupation,” Michael Urban, director of the Occupational Therapy Program at the University of New Haven said.
Urban said younger people have been largely asymptomatic and they’re not getting the message.
“Kids at a young age from college down, their job if you want to think about it that way is to play, is to engage with their peers,” Urban said.
The state of Connecticut’s COVID-19 numbers show that the biggest age bracket for infections these days are 20- to 29-year-olds. In April when the state was at its peak for COVID-19 cases, 0- to 39-year-olds accounted for 27% of the cases and now they account for more than 46% of the cases.
“It’s pretty hard to compare what the numbers are from the spring to what is going on now,” Lynn Sosa, deputy state epidemiologist, said.
Sosa said there was much less testing in the spring.
“That fact that we’re seeing more cases among young people is not something special to Connecticut,” Sosa said. “We’re seeing that across the country and I think people are familiar with the many stories about the different behaviors that might be contributing to that among younger people.”
While younger people might be contracting the virus they aren’t being hospitalized. The older age groups are still being hospitalized at a higher rate.
“Who is being most severely impacted by the pandemic is still the same people that it was in the spring,” Sosa said.
Urban said the state and federal government need to start targeting the younger generation with COVID-19 messaging.
“They can get it. They’re not immune to this,” Urban said. “They have to really target -- you know the federal government: get those big celebrities in, get those athletes in to say ‘hey you need to be doing this.’”
Sosa said the message is the same for every age group.
“People have to recognize that just because their friend might not look sick or feel well doesn’t mean that they might not be infected,” Sosa said.
She said wearing a mask and social distancing will be the key to lowering the infection rate.
“I think it’s definitely a group effort, right? Everybody needs to be doing this because us doing it not only protects us but it protects our friends, it protects our family, it protects everybody else,” Sosa said.