The average age of new coronavirus patients has decreased by about 15 years compared to a few months ago when the virus reappeared in the American sun belt, said the White House Health Advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, on Monday.
Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a Q&A discussion with Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said that the recurrence of cases in the United States is an extension of the previously reported outbreak, not a second wave.
"It is a serious situation that we have to deal with immediately," he said.
The US has gone beyond what some thought was the culmination earlier this year and reported thousands of new cases every day. States like Florida and Texas have recently reported thousands of daily infections and growing hospitalizations.
Cases increased after some states tried to reopen their economies in May. Since then, many have withdrawn, reopened bars, and eaten in indoor restaurants because many young people have disregarded the social distance and face mask recommendations, officials say.
"The average age of people now getting infected is a decade and a half younger than a few months ago, especially when New York, New Orleans and Chicago were hit hard," said Fauci.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said the average age of new Covid 19 patients in his state, which reported a record number of new cases over the holiday weekend, had reached a low of 33. In comparison, the average age of a newly diagnosed coronavirus patient in the fifties and sixties was March and April, he said at a press conference on Monday.
"Why is that important? Well, because this is a virus that doesn't affect all ages equally. It's much more deadly for people in the 80s and 90s than in the 20s and 30s," said DeSantis.
The death rate is significantly lower for Gen Y and millennials, he said, adding that many of these cases are asymptomatic. "Just because you are 21 years old and you may not have any significant symptoms does not mean that you cannot influence other people, and I think that is something we are concerned about," he said.
While young people are less likely to develop serious illnesses from Covid-19, Fauci warned that the virus could still "put them out of action for weeks".
They should also remember that an infection is likely to spread the disease to people who are at high risk of serious illness, he said.
"You could infect someone who infects someone, and then someone's grandmother, grandfather, or aunt will suddenly get infected and receive chemotherapy for breast cancer," said Fauci. "They are part of the spread of the pandemic, so it is your responsibility to help yourself and society to avoid infection."
Dr. White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx has previously warned that the virus poses a higher risk to people with underlying health conditions, such as diabetes and significant obesity, that occur in all age groups.
"We know that we have people in younger age groups with significant type 1 diabetes, and possibly people with significant obesity," Birx said at a White House Task Force press conference on June 26. "We know that these are risk factors. Risk factors are related to your comorbidity, not necessarily your age."