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COVID-19 on the rise among young adults 20 to 29 in El Paso County

Posted at 8:02 PM, Jul 20, 2020

EL PASO COUNTY — There is a significant shift of numbers in El Paso County that is showing young adults from ages 20 to 29 are getting COID-19 at a far higher rate than other age groups.

In the past 30 days, the group has risen to 30% of people testing positive. During the first month when testing started, the group was closer to 10% of positive cases.

"It's easy at this point to say well, young whippersnappers don't listen to us, don't do what they're supposed to do and they're out partying. There's a little bit of that, youth being youth and thinking they're invincible," said Dr. Leon Kelly, assistant medical director of El Paso County Health.

He said there can be a misperception about this age group and COVID-19 and there are other factors putting youth in riskier situations for exposure during the pandemic.

"[They] don't have jobs that many of the rest of us do that allow them to work from home and do meetings,” said Kelly, “They're our front-line grocery workers and all those kinds of things." Delivery, restaurant and retail workers tend to be in a younger demographic.

Because young people are less likely to be hospitalized and die from COVID-19, the rising cases in younger people could be perceived as a lesser threat.

"You get it today. You don't get sick for five or six days,” Kelly said. He also said the issue is a potentially larger number of people who may have the virus and not know it. They could then spread it to people who are more vulnerable.