Local News

In Wake County, greatest number of COVID-19 cases come in 25-44 age group

Posted June 23, 2020 6:35 p.m. EDT
Updated June 24, 2020 9:07 a.m. EDT

People between the ages of 25 and 44 in Wake County are currently testing positive for COVID-19 more often than any other population. This age group makes up nearly 40 percent of all coronavirus cases in the county.

“We’re seeing our new cases really being driven by younger folks, under 49,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

After months of quarantine and social distancing, many people were eager to get out as soon as businesses started to reopen. When Phase 2 relaxed restrictions, streets and restaurants became crowded.

But it came at a cost.

Two age groups make up the largest percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 in Wake County right now: Ages 25-34 and ages 35-44.

John Roberson, who works in retail and lives near Glenwood South – where crowds have gathered each weekend without masks – said he thinks maybe the city reopened too soon.

"I see all the people around that age acting like there’s no pandemic going on, just going about their day like normal,” he said.

Xiang Li, a student at N.C. State said, “Sometimes I see the students here are riding their bikes and hanging around – not wearing masks."

At UNC, physicians are seeing an increase in positive cases among the younger population. Their concern: That this could cause an increase in overall cases.

“You have young people getting infected at high rates, driving the numbers up," said Dr. Matthew St. Marie.

He said people in this age group know they are less likely to get terribly sick from COVID-19. However, in two to four weeks, he's concerned the young people will spread the virus, and there will be an uptake in older people falling more seriously ill.

He said he understands people are tired of being locked down – so he's not in favor of taking a step back and closing again. Rather, at this point, he said it’s up to individuals to wear a mask and social distance until there’s better control of the situation.

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