Unvaccinated teens, children driving COVID-19 surges

More than half of new U.S. COVID-19 cases are among people ages 18 to 49, with younger people who haven't been vaccinated increasingly accounting for more infections, according to CDC data and The Wall Street Journal.

CDC data updated April 12 examining 24,176,192 recent COVID-19 cases in the U.S. found that 2 percent of cases were reported in children 0 to 4 years; 9.8 percent of cases were in youth ages 5 to 17; 22.4 percent were adults 18 to 29; 16.4 percent of cases were among ages 30 to 39; and 14.9 percent were among 40 to 49 year olds.

In Michigan, adults ages 20 to 39 have the highest daily case rates, according to data cited by the Journal. Case rates for children 19 and younger have more than quadrupled from a month ago, and there were 301 total reported school outbreaks as of early last week, up from 248 a week prior, the Journal reports.

"It's concerning that we see big explosive rises in groups where we can't use the vaccine," said Emily Toth Martin, PhD, MPH, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at Ann Arbor-based University of Michigan.

Severe COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations in younger adults are also rising, Rochelle Walensky, MD, director of the CDC, said at a news briefing last week, according to the Journal.

Large outbreaks have been tied to pandemic fatigue, Easter holiday celebrations and spring breaks, experts say.

Though all adults are slated to be eligible for a vaccine by April 19, a vaccine hasn't yet been approved for widespread use among people 16 and younger. Pfizer and BioNTech have requested that the FDA authorize their vaccine for use in people as young as 12 years old.  

 

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