According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the younger generation is at risk of getting ill from COVID-19 than previously thought. Public health experts say young people should be wary about the disease, just like the older generations. Based on the analyzed data and ongoing research about the trends of the virus, it is still not clear about other possible risk factors that may affect young people in addition to age.
Although the likelihood of being hospitalized from COVID-19 is significantly higher in the older age group, new data from top health agencies shows that younger people can be susceptible to the virus as well. This article assesses factors that may contribute to COVID-19 infections in young people and its implications.
New Data about Covid-19 Infections
Looking at the new data released by the CDC and other top health organizations, you may think that something has changed from the beginning the infection rates were only high among people above the age of 60. The early data about COVID-19 infection and deaths found the cases higher among the older population as it is today. Now that we are receiving broad data on general infections and serious fatalities, it is becoming clear that children and young adults are also susceptible to COVID-19 despite their lower rates of infection.
The chances of a young person with no underlying health conditions succumbing to the deadly virus are rare but the primary question is, can it happen? While many people may argue that only young people with underlying health conditions can be affected by COVID-19, it is still possible for young healthy individuals to get the virus.
How Are Young Healthy Adults Susceptible to COVID-19?
- Genetic Makeup
One theory is that some young people have a genetic makeup that makes them likely to respond differently to COVID-19. It is also suspected that there may be a specific gene that can alter the respiratory receptors and as a result, making it easier for the virus to infect the lungs of some people. This can be true for individuals whose health conditions run through their family history.
- Viral Load
Viral load refers to the actual amount of virus particles that infect a person. Since young individuals have a strong immunity compared to older people, they may be in a better position to recover from smaller loads of the virus. However, it is believed that with higher doses, the outcome may be worse. Since the virus is always at work, making copies of itself inside your body, the disease may progress quickly.
- Less Compliance
Age-related differences in risk-taking might play a significant role in shaping COVID-19 trends among young people. It may be fair to say that young people can be less compliant with interventions like quarantine, social distancing, and using masks in public spaces, as they are eager to go back to how things were before. These differences in risk aversion can also contribute to the number of COVID-19 infection rates among young people with time.
- Increased Burden on Hospitals
According to hospitalization rates shown by top health organizations like the CDC, older adults record the highest number of ICU admission and case fatalities. A small increase in hospitalizations among younger adults could create a significant burden in municipalities with intensive care units already exceeding capacity. If the available health centers cannot meet the health needs of the community, then the curves may continue rising among the young generation due to inadequate medical facilities.
The Implication of COVID-19 on Young People
While young people can get the virus, there are rare cases for fatalities among the individuals aged below 19. One explanation is that as we age, our immune system slows down adding it to the fact that older people have a higher likelihood of other chronic conditions like diabetes or heart disease. For kids, their immune systems are still stronger and underdeveloped in some ways making them less susceptible to other diseases. However, they can still be affected by COVID-19 due to the possible factors as discussed earlier.
It is important to keep in mind that the above information is only meant to help you understand why young people can also be affected by COVID-19. Even though many young adults may show mild symptoms or no symptoms, it does not make them invisible, as they can be carriers who pass the virus to older populations that are at high risk. It is essential to take necessary precautions during this pandemic to avoid a further increase in the number of COVID-19 infection cases among young people.