They are young, they are restless and across the United States they are leading the latest wave of Covid-19 cases.
Fed up with pandemic restrictions and cradled in a false sense of security by the rising rate of vaccinations, coronavirus departments in local hospitals are increasingly populated by younger, still unvaccinated adults who have let their guard down, top public health experts in the country. are a warning.
“It is premature to declare a victory,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, told the National Press Club on Tuesday. “We are seeing more and more young people having serious problems, namely serious illnesses, requiring hospitalization and sometimes even tragic deaths in quite young people.
Fauci’s warning echoed earlier remarks by Dr. Rochelle Walensky, head of the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We are now entering our fourth week of upward trends in cases,” Walensky said Monday. “The trends and the data indicate that cases are increasing nationally, as we are seeing that this is mostly happening in young adults.”
In particular, Walensky said that “many epidemics among young people are linked to youth sports and extracurricular activities” that involve their parents.
Part of the problem is that Americans are less afraid of catching Covid-19, even though just under a fifth of the country’s population has been fully vaccinated, according to the latest figures from NBC News.
In a recent Gallup poll, only 35% of Americans responding to a survey conducted March 15-21 said they feared contracting the coronavirus – a drop of 14 percentage points from February and well below the record high of 59% established in April 2020 in the first months of the pandemic.
While the largest drop of 21% is in people over 65, the group most likely to be vaccinated, there have also been sharp drops in the percentages of people worried about catching the virus in the groups. 18-44 and 44-64 years old, according to the survey. .
Meanwhile, Covid-19 outbreaks linked to younger people have closed daycares in Nebraska and Wisconsin and have quadrupled cases in at least one city in Connecticut. In states like Florida, Pennsylvania and Maryland, the number of young people in Covid-19 hospital wards is on the rise.
“What we’re seeing are patients in their 20s, 30s and 40s,” Marna Borgstrom, CEO of Yale New Haven Health, recently told NBC News in Connecticut.
In Chicago, the city’s public health commissioner Dr Allison Arwady has warned that young adults are pushing the parameters of Covid-19 to levels not seen since October.
“Even though there are more cases among young people, we are still seeing that this translates into an increase in hospitalizations,” said Arwady. “I am concerned, and I hope everyone is concerned when they look at this data.”
But nowhere is the spread of Covid-19 among non-holidays more pronounced than in Michigan, which currently leads the country in hospitalizations among younger and unvaccinated people, according to the latest figures from the CDC.
Why Michigan? It’s not just because the state is grappling with the spread of highly infectious variants of Covid-19 which is just behind Florida.
“Michigan’s increase in the number of cases is a combination of factors: variants, epidemics among schools / sports teams and a high case rate among 10-19 year olds and increasing rates in all age groups. age up to 59, and Covid-fatigue, ”Michigan Health Department spokeswoman Lynn Sutfin told local media on Monday.
In an interview last week with NBC News, Michigan public health expert Marianne Udow-Phillips said the surge in new cases of Covid-19 “is directly linked to the return of youth sports.”
“It doesn’t happen in the field,” said Udow-Phillips, who heads the Center for Health Research Transformation at the University of Michigan. “It happens during transport and after, when people get together and eat without wearing a mask. It happens at parties and where people socialize. “
As Michigan public health experts urged Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to keep the mask mandate and other restrictions in place, an advocacy group for student athletes and their parents called “Let Them Play” sued the director. of the State Department of Health and Human Services. , Elizabeth Hertel, on a new pandemic order that requires rapid testing for Covid-19 for all young athletes between the ages of 13 and 19.
“It seems there are a lot of people in Michigan who just want to fight Whitmer and don’t want to go through protocols,” Robert Bensley, professor of public health at Western Michigan University, told the Detroit Free Press. “They think it’s not real; it’s a hoax. They will not be vaccinated and they could contract Covid, and they could pass on a variant that could be fatal. “
Michigan has seen some of the fiercest resistance to pandemic restrictions, and Whitmer, a Democrat, ended up being the target of what authorities described as a right-wing kidnapping plot.
Almost 19.5% of Michigan residents have been fully immunized, according to Becker’s Hospital Review.