More young people testing positive for COVID-19

More young people testing positive for COVID-19

As the pandemic progresses, the distribution of cases has shifted toward young people. This could be a result of increased testing, more risky behaviors, the makeup of the essential workforce, and other factors. Though young adults are less likely to display symptoms, they may unknowingly spread COVID-19 to older and more vulnerable populations, thereby fueling the pandemic.

In Maryland, testing has increased steadily since the beginning of the pandemic, at which point only symptomatic individuals with a doctor’s order could receive a COVID-19 test. Now, many sites offer appointment-free and cost-free testing. Montgomery County, for instance, has tested more than ten percent of its population. This expansion of testing may account for some of the increase in cases among young adults, though Marylanders under 35 have a test positivity rate 84 percent higher than those over 35.

Additionally, young adults are often more exposed to the virus than older adults, some recklessly but others unavoidably. According to a poll from UCLA, 42 percent of 18-39-year-olds have socialized without distancing, compared to 26 percent of adults over 40. At the same time, younger people are more likely to work essential jobs: The Center for Economic and Policy Research says that 64 percent of essential workers are younger than 50.

Visit https://montgomerycountymd.gov/covid19/testing.html to find a testing site near you.

By Prayag Gordy

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