Wednesday, July 01, 2020

As coronavirus spreads to people under 40, it's making them sicker — and for longer — than once thought

David KnowlesEditor
,Yahoo News•June 29, 2020

For the first few months of the coronavirus pandemic, health and government officials assured the public that young people were at little or no risk of falling seriously ill from COVID-19. But many young people who have contracted the virus tell a very different story, one that should serve as a warning to young adults in the Southern and Western states where infections are surging.

“For younger people who think they don’t need to worry and who haven’t followed guidelines, think again,” Jade Townsend, 22, told Yahoo News in a Facebook message. “It’s had a major impact on my life these past few months and continues to have an impact.”


But as the number of new cases of the disease has swelled by 76 percent in the U.S. over the past 14 days, young people who considered themselves in little danger from the virus are the ones being admitted to hospitals.

In Houston, for instance, roughly 60 percent of COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized are under the age of 50.

“We’re definitely seeing this affect young people, and they’re getting quite ill,” Dr. Marc Bloom, CEO of Houston Methodist, told CNBC.


While researchers are still trying to determine the extent of the lasting damage inflicted by COVID-19, one thing is clear: Just because the disease may not kill you doesn’t mean it will make you stronger. Studies conducted so far point to possible long-term heart damage, scarring of the lungs, impact on the nervous system and a higher incidence of stroke.


As has become clearer over the past few months, people over the age of 60 aren’t the only ones who need to fear what the coronavirus might have in store for them. In part, that’s because roughly one in four young adults has grown up with a chronic health condition such as asthma or diabetes. Those comorbidities can make diseases like COVID-19 potentially more dangerous, but even people without known preexisting conditions can be hit hard by the virus.

“I’ve been dealing with this for 115 days,” Yahoo News Senior Editor Ed Hornick said. “It’s changed my whole perspective on how I go about my life.”


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