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Experts warn COVID-19 cases are rising in younger age groups the most

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Posted at 8:11 AM, Apr 15, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — As COVID-19 cases are rising across the state, experts say the highest increase is in the younger age groups.

“So in the 0 to 17, in college-age people 18 to 24, and then the younger working age from 25 to 49, we're seeing more prominent increases statewide, but we are seeing small increases in the 50 to 64-year-olds, and then the 65 plus,” said Jason Salemi, Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the University of South Florida.

Salemi created a new visual that shows how cases have been trending in the most recent two weeks, by age group, in the most populous counties statewide.

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Those counties include Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Polk.

“What I can say pretty definitively right now is, in general, our major metropolitan areas are seeing increases that are more pronounced than what we're seeing statewide,” said Salemi.

Currently, the numbers show we’re seeing cases go up again across all ages, but especially millennials.

This is something doctors are keeping a close eye on.

“The highest transmissibility of the virus right now is shown to be the age of 20 to 49, the people that fall into that demographic group. I really believe we need to concentrate a lot of effort and education in that group, in that demographic group,” said Dr. Kevin Sneed, Dean of the USF College of Pharmacy.

One reason experts believe this uptick is happening is because we continue to deal with more contagious variants that are circulating with increasing frequency.

“But it's also that we're taking more risks. We're relaxing those mitigation efforts that we know are effective in curbing community spread. And I think those two things combined, are why we're seeing increased cases,” said Salemi.

“We've been here before, again, the vaccine should really help us in preventing a lot more people from getting infected. But it underscores the importance of coupling, you know, us getting people vaccinated as quickly as we can, but keeping up those mitigation efforts,” he added.