Florida is watching Covid-19 cases skyrocket among youth

But authorities are now warning of the growing impact Covid-19 is having on young people, such as Jerry Ward, 29, who told CNN that he had to be hospitalized after going to a party at the house for his birthday. a cousin.

“Three days later, everyone started texting,” to say they were not feeling well, Ward told CNN from his hospital room at Westside Regional Medical Center in Plantation, Florida.

According to him, ten people in their 20s and 30s from that party in South Florida have been diagnosed with Covid-19.

“They should take it seriously,” Ward said of the youth. “Just go to places that are necessary, like medical appointments, work, things of that nature.”

According to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the average age of Covid-19 positive cases in March was 65. But in the last week, it has dropped to 35 years.

As of Thursday, Florida had more than 114,000 cases of Covid-19, with more than 3,300 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Approximately 20% of cases are patients between the ages of 25 and 34, according to data released by the state Department of Health on Thursday.

“What we have seen, particularly over the past week, is a true explosion in new cases among our younger demographic groups,” DeSantis said at a press conference in Orlando earlier this week.

“Half of these positive tests are in that age group of 34 years and younger, and most of the tests we are seeing are actually 25 to 34 years old,” said the governor. “They represent most of all the positive evidence by a pretty decent margin for anyone throughout the pandemic.”

The situation in Florida became bleaker on Thursday, after reports of two deaths of Covid-19 patients under the age of 18. In the past, DeSantis, a Republican, had pointed to the lack of death among minors to support his effort to reopen Florida schools this fall.

The increase in cases among young people is a “latent fire”, says an expert

Some young people who become infected will need to be hospitalized if they have underlying medical conditions, such as Ward. But while many will recover at home, that doesn’t mean the impacts are less severe.

Taisia ​​Graham, 23, who is recovering from Covid-19, warned her peers to take the disease seriously in a video posted on YouTube, saying, “This is the worst feeling I have ever felt in all my lifetime”.

When asked to see other young people in Florida who don’t take social distancing or wear masks seriously, Graham, the mother of a 2-year-old girl, admitted that she acted the same way when Florida began reopening.

“Now that I have Covid, I think it’s really important that people really take this seriously,” he told CNN.

What is behind the increase in Covid-19 cases in Florida?

In addition to struggling to cope with the disease on an individual level, health officials also warn that young patients may still transmit the coronavirus and are concerned about possible impacts on the most vulnerable patients, such as the elderly.

On Thursday, CNN contributor and University of Massachusetts professor of biology Dartmouth, Erin Bromage, called the rising rate of Covid-19 cases among youth a “dormant fire” that will hit vulnerable populations.

“Now we are looking at what is really happening, which is young people 18 to 44 years old who are being affected at a really high rate,” said Bromage. “Their social media, their employment, allows them to mix at a higher rate, and we are seeing that the infection rate, especially in Texas, Florida and Arizona, is skyrocketing in that demographic.”

“It’s just that dormant fire, but as more of them become infected, the chance that they will interact with the vulnerable population increases and hits that vulnerable population, and then hell just starts,” Bromage told CNN’s John Berman. “That’s when we end up with many diseases and many diseases.”

CNN’s Gisela Crespo, John Bonifield and Justin Gamble contributed to this report.