The coronavirus pandemic has spread to younger populations in the U.S., CDC says

“It is obvious that we are seeing infections right now targeting younger people,” CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said during a media telecast.

Younger people may not be at risk of spreading the pandemic as seriously as they should be, added CDC Dr. Jay Butler. “We may need to get the message out that young people are somehow not naturally immune to this virus, although they may have a lower risk of serious infection,” he said.

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The risk of serious complications and death increases with age, the CDC says, although there is no clear age limit for higher or lower risk. People with diabetes, kidney disease, moderate to severe asthma, and obesity are also at increased risk.

In response to a CNN question, Butler acknowledged that the United States has a high proportion of younger people with obesity. “We have to recognize reality. Our nation is not as healthy as other nations, particularly if you look at obesity and other medical conditions,” he said.

It will be important to get the message across, Butler said. “Everyone should understand that there is still some risk of serious illness, even among younger people,” he said.

Butler said CDC was exploring using social media tools like TikTok to reach a younger audience.