Growing number of young people fuels Jacksonville coronavirus surge

25- to 34-year-olds make up largest group of new cases

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As COVID-19 cases have grown across Florida and Duval County and both the state and Jacksonville are seeing higher numbers of positive cases each day, News4Jax has also noticed a change in the age range of those becoming infected.

  • In March, when the pandemic reached Florida, the largest segment of the new cases in Jacksonville were people between 45 and 54 years old. They made up 20.8% of those cases
  • In April, as more testing was available, the largest age group shifted younger, with 18.9% of those testing positive between 25 and 34 years old.
  • In May, as testing was in more accessible, the largest group was older -- between 55 and 64 years old -- representing 16.7% of the new cases.

In all three months, the difference between the various age groups was not that great. But in the first half of June we noticed a big change: Those between 25 and 34 years old now make up 29.2% of those positive -- nearly 10 points higher than any other group.

We have learned from health officials that younger patients are coming into the hospitals but their condition appears less severe than those cases we saw at the beginning of the pandemic. While they appear to be healthier, the concern is they could pass the virus on to those who are at more risk of becoming very ill from the virus -- people like their parents or grandparents.

But Marko Predic, who works in infectious disease prevention at UF Health Jacksonville, said Wednesday that the patients coming into area hospitals aren’t showing the same severe symptoms that hospital staff were seeing three months ago.

“We’re probably seeing more of those patients who are not requiring a higher level of care,” Predic said. “We’re getting symptomatic patients with sore throats, high fevers, a lot of shortness of breath, but not as (many) in critical condition. And that goes for all ages.”

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