Young people likely creating COVID-19 hot spots

Posted at 3:20 PM, Oct 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-12 17:20:14-04

Coronavirus cases are increasing in nearly every state in the United States, and new research by the CDC suggests young adults may be the sparks in new virus hot spots. The percentage of positive coronavirus test results start going up among those under the age of 25, about a month before a county is designated as a virus hot spot.

"Just by looking at someone you cannot tell that they're infected," said Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

Dr. Birx says the amount of asymptomatic spread is large.

"When you start to look at this college data it may be up to 80% of individuals under 30 are asymptomatic and we're still getting the data from all of the colleges," she said.

CDC researchers say understanding and tracking positive test rates by age group could help public health officials identify future hot spots and better prevent and prepare for a rise in COVID-19 cases. Dr. Birx says it's also important to identify those who are asymptomatic.

"The way you find that is the way the universities are finding it -- regular testing. If you wait until people have symptoms you've waited too long because there's so much asymptomatic spread before that."

As temperatures get cooler, Dr. Birx encourages everyone to keep their masks on and their guards up. Hot spot counties were defined as those that had more than 100 cases in the previous seven days and had experienced increases in cases in the preceding three to seven days.