Young People in Southern States Testing Positive for Coronavirus at Higher Rates

As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases continues to rise across the U.S., one distinctive pattern has emerged. Health officials in southern states have noted that more and more young people have been testing positive for COVID-19.

As CNN noted, this pattern is particularly noticeable in Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, Texas and other states across the southeast, which also happened to be some of the states that were the first to loosen their social distancing restrictions. However, some officials have argued that the rising number of cases is due to increased testing in those states, while others see the numbers as a direct result of people simply not taking the proper precautions. This new pattern comes as a contrast to the earlier days of the outbreak, which disproportionately affected older people. The virus still has more severe outcomes on older people, as well as minorities and those with underlying health conditions, notes the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC will take a closer look at the spike in diagnoses by conducting a scientific review about the public health benefits of masks and updating its recommendations shortly. A senior official who has knowledge of the review said they're trying to make a more definitive ruling on whether masks "good for source control — and keeping you from giving it to others — but we're also seeing if masks are going to protect you from getting [Covid-19] yourself." They added that the agency knows "it's a good thing to wear a mask to protect others," but they're "studying if it is also potentially going to keep you safe."

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Friday that the median age for cases diagnosed in the past week was 37-years-old, with 62 percent of new cases for the week of June 7 occurring in people under the age of 45. "That is a big change from where we were at the end of March and the beginning of April," he explained. "It was skewing much older at that time."

In Mississippi, one health officer called adherence to social distancing over the past weeks "overwhelmingly disappointing." Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also said earlier in June that people under 30 made up a majority of new coronavirus cases in several counties across the state, and pointed to Memorial Day parties, visits to bars and other social gatherings before reinstating shutdown protocols on Friday.