The Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has now added younger Americans in the list of people who are at risk of contracting COVID-19.
Prior to the latest announcement of CDC, people who have pre-existing conditions and those who are above the age bracket of 65 are labeled as the most at risk of contracting COVID-19 disease. Yet, with the looming clusters of new cases across the country, it appears that younger people are not immune.
Younger Americans are now at risk
Last Thursday, June 25, the CDC held a press briefing and announced that younger people in the United States are “not immune” and now “at risk of catching coronavirus.” In fact, the majority of new cases in the country are fueled by younger Americans.
The agency, however, had particularly pointed out those with conditions like obesity, chronic diseases, asthma, and diabetes.
The CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield explained that Americans, specifically the younger ones, are “not as healthy as those who are in other nations,” per Business Insider. He said that obesity and other medical conditions are widespread in the U.S., which makes young Americans vulnerable with pre-existing conditions.
“I think we have to recognize the reality. Our nation is not as healthy as some other nations, particularly as you look at the issue of obesity, or some of these chronic medical conditions,” Dr. Redfield said.
The Deputy Director of Infectious Diseases Dr. Jay Butler also echoed the same view. He said that given the fact that people below the age of 50 drive the new clusters of infections, it emphasizes that younger people are not immune from contracting SARS-CoV-2 or to develop severe symptoms like a respiratory failure.
Younger people act as “transmission connector”
On a more serious note, Dr. Redfield also highlighted the prevalence of younger people acting as a “transmission connector” of the coronavirus.
Based on CDC’s data, hospitalizations for people who are under the age of 50 are lower compared to those who are above the age bracket. However, he explained that even though they will not likely develop severe symptoms, younger folks still serve “as a transmission connector for individuals that could, in fact, be at a higher risk.”
Coronavirus patients are divided into two categories: symptomatic and asymptomatic. Unlike symptomatic individuals, those who are asymptomatic do not show symptoms.
If that is the case, the CDC explained that young people could have the virus but not realize it. They could then pass it unknowingly to others and people who are vulnerable to the disease.
The situation, however, could be prevented if younger Americans start to wear masks. Dr. Redfield, in CDC’s recent press briefing, even urged people—especially younger ones—to help stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2 by wearing masks.
“I am addressing the younger members of our society, the millennials, and Generation Z. I ask those that are listening to spread the word,” Dr. Redfield plead.