When the coronavirus infection first broke out in early 2020 in different countries across the globe, the World Health Organisation announced it as a bigger threat to the elderly, especially those with other underlying health conditions. As governments world over stepped up their game to combat one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century – a full-fledged pandemic – there was havoc everywhere alongside the shutting down of schools, businesses and recreational facilities among other things. Not too long ago, when Covid-19 cases witnessed a drastic decline in various parts of the world, people began to return back to their normal lives. In a rather surprising turn of events, it has now been reported that most confirmed coronavirus cases are now in younger people in some parts of the United Kingdom and the United States.
Two-thirds of confirmed infections are in people below the age of 40 while numbers in older people have fallen sharply, a Times analysis of Public Health England figures revealed. One-fifth of cases are in people over 50, compared with three quarters in the spring. Cases in those over 80 account for 3% of the total, down from 28% in March. While this is surely a win-win for older people who are more prone to severe infections, the question about whether lockdown restrictions should have been eased has become the centre of debate.
In the US, as some schools reopened for physical classes, data compiled by the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that cases, hospitalizations and deaths from the coronavirus have increased at a faster rate in children and teenagers than among the general public. The data set, which spans from May 21 to August 20, varies from state to state. For example, many states group infants and teenagers into the same category. One state even includes people up to age 24. But the rise remains similar across states. Young children seem to catch and transmit the virus less than adults, and children of all ages tend not to experience severe complications from it. But Dr. Sean O’Leary, vice chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ committee on infectious diseases, said that substantial community spread in many parts of the United States corresponded with more infections among children, concluded the New York Times. “Anyone who has been on the front lines of this pandemic in a children’s hospital can tell you we’ve taken care of lots of kids that are very sick,” Dr. O’Leary stated. “Yes, it’s less severe in children than adults, but it’s not completely benign.”