What’s Behind the Covid-19 Age Shift?

More cases of Covid-19 are reported among people in their 20s and 30s

Cases of the coronavirus are on the rise but Covid-19 deaths have decreased steadily since mid-April. A possible reason for this, experts say, is that an increasing percentage of people with Covid-19 right now are younger.

Data shows that several states are reporting surges in Covid-19 cases — including Arizona, California, Florida, Texas, and Washington — and a higher proportion of those cases are in younger adults in their twenties and thirties.

As the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security shared in a recent newsletter, there are likely several reasons for why there’s an increase in younger people with Covid-19. One is the fact that reopenings mean younger people are interacting more and likely increasing their potential exposure. Testing and contact tracing have also increased throughout the U.S., which could mean that more mild cases of Covid-19 are being identified and those milder cases tend to be seen in a younger population. “Limited testing capacity was largely focused on hospitalized patients, which skewed toward older patients,” the newsletter says.

However it’s worth noting that young people can still experience severe forms of the disease and the infections can be fatal. In Texas, people under age 50 are making up 50% of the people hospitalized in Dallas-Fort Worth hospitals and 30% of the people in critical care.

As Natalie Dean, PhD, an assistant professor of biostatistics at the University of Florida recently shared in a viral Twitter thread, it’s also possible that elderly people are being more cautious and/or young people are being less cautious. You can see her full review of the age shift below.