A new study shows that in 2020, young adults were the main drivers of the pandemic. The journal “Science” published a study showing people ages 20-49 are the main spreaders of COVID-19 in the United States.
Researchers at Imperial College London collected cell phone data from more than 10 million people and found through the end of summer last year, 65 percent of new COVID cases were in people ages 20-49.
And once schools reopened in October, that number jumped to 72 percent.
According to the researchers in the study, adults aged 20-49 naturally have more contact with other adults age 20 and above – which makes for higher rates of transmission in that age group.
And local health officials are not surprised at all.
UCSFs Dr. Peter Chin Hong says the data in the study confirms everything we know about contact tracing and the ways the virus is spread from one person to another.
But he says it’s not the high rate of spread among those age 20-49 that’s most notable.
“I think what was notable about the study in particular was the extremely low rates in the younger kids. So 0-9 years old, 2 percent of the transmission, even though they account for about 12 percent of the population,” he said. “So the risk really rises when you have college age kids and above. The highest risk was in ages 35-49. these are the people in the households going out, making a living for the family, and then coming back. probably transmitting to the family members.”
Dr. Chin Hong says the data also points to the fact that young people wrongly believe they are invincible.