World Health Organization or WHO reiterated that young people are not invincible as coronavirus cases surge. They should not be “letting down their guard.”
WHO said the youth could be causing coronavirus cases to spread further in some countries. While their risk of death is low overall, they may experience long-term symptoms even after their recovery.
“We have said it before and we will say it again, young people are not invincible,” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press conference at the agency’s headquarters in Geneva. “Young people can be infected, young people can die and young people can transmit the virus to others.”
He said that WHO considers it a challenge to persuade younger people worldwide to understand that the coronavirus could pose a serious risk for their health.
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, explained that most younger people tend to show milder forms of Covid-19, but that is not always the case. Some of them have gotten seriously ill and died.
“Even people who have mild disease, some of them will go on to recover just fine. But some of them have longer-term effects, and we are just starting to really learn about this,” she said. She noted that shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, or difficulty resuming activities like going back to work or the gym are some of the things young people may experience even after recovery.
“We are learning what that means,” she said.
Kerkhove added that to prevent spreading the virus, young people should always their hands, observe social distancing, wear a mask, and avoid crowded places like bars.
“We are consistently seeing night clubs as amplifiers of transmission,” she said. “This is very unfortunate because know that young people want to resume normal activities. But there are situations where the virus, if it’s present, can take hold and transmit efficiently.”
Dr. Fauci’s remarks
White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci also warned young people about “propagating the pandemic.” He is urging them to take the coronavirus seriously.
“You have to have responsibility for yourself but also a societal responsibility that you’re getting infected is not just you in a vacuum. You’re propagating the pandemic,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in an interview.
Dr. Fauci’s statements came as state health officials say that more young Americans are disregarding social distancing measures and testing positive for coronavirus at a higher rate. He said that the average age of a new Covid-19 patient has declined by 15 years since the start of the pandemic in the US.
According to Vice President Mike Pence, roughly half of the new cases in the US were individuals under the age of 35, particularly in Texas and Florida.
Dr. Fauci noted that young people going to bars is “totally understandable.” However, he warned that those who are asymptomatic, who do not develop symptoms, can also transmit the virus on to others.