GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — According to the Michigan COVID-19 Dashboard a large number of positive COVID cases have been in young people in the 20-29 age group.
Dr. Ron Grifka, chief medical officer for Metro Health, University of Michigan Health, explained why younger people may be getting infected more often.
He said, “You might not have gotten infected already, and it’s been a year; you think you’re bulletproof.”
It’s certainly not a new mindset but one Dr. Grifka thinks younger people may be stuck in.
“They are probably a little less likely to do the social distancing, mask wearing, other preventative measures,” he said.
Dr. Grifka also said that the age group tends to be more social.
“They are in school, they’re working, maybe working remotely, but they are still trying to get together and do things either at work or outside of work, so they are exposing each other to more,” he said.
According to the state's COVID Dashboard, so far, we’ve seen more than 104,000 cases in the 20-29 age group. The next highest group netted more than 86,000 cases in the 50-59 age group.
Dr. Claudia Jarrin, the medical director of prevention and control at Mercy Health Muskegon, said all of that data shows it’s not just older people getting sick.
“Most of them are asymptomatic or do well, but there’s also a significant number of patients who unfortunately end up in the ICU,” Dr. Jarrin said.
Some may even have lingering issues.
Dr. Jarrin explained, “Several weeks or months of chest pain or shortness of breath--so that is definitely something we cannot take lightly.”
As state data points out, the death rate is significantly lower in young people than those older than 65, but doctors said that’s why it’s so important for those younger groups to continue masking, washing their hands, and social distancing.
Dr. Grifka said, “It is still important to remember that they can still infect many people: their family, older people, and other young people. So, they still need to just be careful with what they’re doing, and even if you get the vaccine, someone could cough on you, then you could have the virus on you, and then you could spread it to someone else.”
Both Dr. Grifka and Dr. Jarrin are encouraging younger age groups to get vaccinated as soon as they’re eligible and to even sign up now.
“We know that cases are definitely dropping, but we cannot drop our guards,” said Dr. Jarrin.
Dr. Grifka added that he’s hopeful the 20-29 age group will be able to get vaccinated in the next few months.
“Just bear with us a little bit longer, and we are going to get there,” he said.