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World Health Organization reports Young people driving new cases of COVID-19

ENC experts say the recent spread of coronavirus cases by 20, 30 and 40-year-olds could be a game-changer in the fight against the pandemic.
Published: Aug. 18, 2020 at 8:21 PM EDT
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KENANSVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - The World Health Organization is urging young people to do more to stop the spread of COVID-19.

During a W.H.O. summit Tuesday, global health leaders said people in their 20′s, 30′s and 40′s have been dominating new cases of coronavirus.

“The messages that are getting out, particularly to young people, particularly to children and young adults that you are not invincible to this virus,” said WHO Epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove.

Local experts say the new information is not surprising, and is almost entirely driven by changes in behavior.

“What we’re seeing in these populations makes perfect sense,” said James Sprunt Community College Biology Professor Alex Bogdanoff. “You change behaviors that exposes you to the pathogen more frequently, your potential to become infected goes up.”

The information came just a day after UNC Chapel Hill announced it would move classes online starting Wednesday after the university identified four clusters in the first week of returning to classes. East Carolina University also reported its first cluster at a residence hall on-campus Monday.

“To have expectations at some level that these students are going to come back in and adhere to these guidelines, well it may have been a little hopeful,” said Bogdanoff.

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