Rising Covid-19 cases among young people can lower death rate only until elderly not infected: Former CDC head
Dr Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said it was premature to know if growing cases among the young could lower fatalities
Covid-19 is preying on more young Americans aged between 20 and 40 in the southern US. This trend could bring down death rates but on the flip side, these adults could infect the older population, warns former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
"With younger age of recent infections in at least some places such as Florida, expect a lower death rate in this wave, until the 20-40-year-olds who are infected today go on to infect others," Dr Tom Frieden, the former CDC director, who is now president and CEO of the initiative Resolve to Save Lives, tweeted.
Since the reopening of states and the Memorial Day weekend, infection rates are climbing. Overall, 26 states are seeing a spike in the last 14 days, according to The New York Times. The southern states, which were the first to return to normalcy, are now facing the consequences. Recently, Vice President Mike Pence told Governors that more young people are testing positive in states such as Florida and Texas. Others like South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia are also witnessing the same.
The change in demographics has experts worrying over what this trend could mean for fatalities. The young are less prone to develop a severe disease and die -- but at the same time, they are not invincible. Not to mention, these infected adults could put the vulnerable population, including the elderly, at risk.
"Some people would like to say, well that's not a big deal because young people don't get as sick," Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, said Tuesday, on "TODAY." "But young people are then going to spend time with their parents and grandparents. Just because it starts with young people, doesn't mean it will stay with young people," he added.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said it was premature to know if growing cases among the young could lower fatalities. "Deaths always lag considerably behind cases. The deaths only came down multiple weeks later. So you’re seeing more cases now while the deaths are going down," he testified before a House committee on the US response to the Covid-19 pandemic. "The concern is, if those cases then infect people who wind up getting sick and go to the hospital, it is conceivable you may see the deaths going up. So I think it’s too early to say because the deaths are going down," he added.
Despite the risk of catching and spreading the disease, many continue to flock to bars, dining, and camps "I've seen bars and restaurants that look like it's New Year's Eve 1999 — not a care in the world, nobody wearing masks, standing shoulder to shoulder," Dr. James McDeavitt, senior vice president and dean of clinical affairs at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, told NBC News. There is some evidence of increased patients associated with this behavior, Dr. Katie Passaretti, medical director for infection prevention at Atrium Health in Charlotte, told NBC News.
Reminding people that Covid-19 still is out there to hurt people, Dr. Frieden tweeted: "We're sick and tired of waiting to reopen, but Covid isn't tired of making us sick. 3 W's: Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Watch your distance. And please, if the health department calls, answer the phone."