Young Adults Now Make Up Largest Number of COVID-19 Cases in California

by on June 19, 2020 · 5 comments

in Health, San Diego

Young adults in PB. Do you see a mask? Screengrab from 7SanDiego

By Artie Ojeda / 7SanDiego / June 17, 2020

Young adults between the ages of 18 through 34 now make up 44% of positive COVID-19 cases in California. The figure is up from 29% compared to one month ago. The age group represents the largest share of COVID-19 cases in the state.

The new data is provided by Bay Area epidemiologist George Lemp, who crunched numbers provided by the California Department of Public Health.

There is no definitive reason as to why there is a marked increase in positive cases in the age group. But it coincides with the reopening of many businesses, including bars and restaurants in the state. There’s also been an increase in the availability of testing.

“In general, younger people feel like they’re invincible. They move away from the mitigation strategies, the masking, and social distancing,” says Dr. William Tseng, MD, with Kaiser Permanente in San Diego.

Dr. William Tseng, MD, with Kaiser Permanente in San Diego

While the number of cases among young adults has skyrocketed in the last month, the exact opposite has happened in cases among people 50 years and older. The cases in that age group have dropped from 46% to 30.5% in the last month, according to the data.

In Pacific Beach, many young adults interviewed by NBC 7 were not concerned with the increase in positive cases.

“Personally, I think I’m going to try to find a balance, so I don’t want to completely ignore it,” said Cami Hardman.

“If we don’t have a vaccine, we’ve got to get over it one way or another, and that’s probably herd immunity. So, I think it might be the best route economically and health-wise,” said Brian Pennington.

But Tseng said herd immunity is a longshot with COVID-19 because, at this point, we’re only at about 2% of the population being infected with the virus.

And while more young adults have tested positive for COVID-19, the rate of hospitalizations and deaths in that age group remains low.

As of Tuesday in San Diego County, people between the age of 20 to 39 represented 13% of people hospitalized. The age group accounts for 2% of deaths, according to the health department.

“If you’re young and you’re healthy, you may end up in the hospital but your risk of dying is really much lower. So, are we going to see more hospitalizations? Maybe. But are we going to see a drastic increase in deaths in the young population, I wouldn’t say so yet,” said Tseng.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeffeck June 22, 2020 at 8:38 am

You have to include protesting as well as bars, restaurants and other businesses in the reasons why there are more cases. In fact, businesses etc have strict guidelines to be followed. Protests are groups of people screaming, singing and chanting at the top of their lungs in close proximity. I don’t buy the media spin there is no linkage.


Chris June 22, 2020 at 11:41 am

I don’t think anyone disputes protests are part of the increase. Every single person I know who took part in them (myself included) knew it would have some effect. But with the “strict” guidelines to businesses, they are not all on the same page and not all following the same protocol.


Jeffeck June 22, 2020 at 2:31 pm

The media claim no positive cases have come from the protesters. Yes enforcement and compliance are factors but so is the non compliance of most who are not wearing masks anywhere unless they are forced to. At least in stores etc, patrons have to have a mask on to enter and most are compliant while inside.


Frank Gormlie June 22, 2020 at 3:27 pm

“Surge in coronavirus cases linked to more Texans in their 20s getting sick, officials say” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

Texans under the age of 30 are testing positive for the new coronavirus at a higher rate than previously seen since the pandemic began, contributing to a recent surge in the number of cases in the state …


Jan Michael Sauer June 22, 2020 at 10:28 pm

Yes Frank , That is absolutely true . San Antonio is now the number four hot spot in the country and Austin is number five . The number of hospitalizations has more than doubled here in S.A. since last week . The number of people on ventilators has more than tripled . I sure hope that California learns from our mistakes .


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