With coronavirus infection rates and death tolls increasing day by day, it can be easy to forget that there are other epidemics that are affecting Americans across the country. And although the pandemic is greatly affecting the oldest segments of the population, the lives of young people are affected by other crises. According to one of the nation’s top health officials, there are two tragic things that are killing more youth than COVID.
Yes, the elderly and immunocompromised communities are at higher risk. But the coronavirus is also taking victims of almost all ages, so being young does not make it less vulnerable to COVID-19. “We are beginning to see young individuals in their 30s and 40s who do not have an underlying condition that predisposes them to complications that become seriously ill and require intensive care,” Fauci told CNN.
“Overwhelmingly, it remains the elderly and those with underlying conditions,” he added. “But that’s one of the pleas we make to younger people. Don’t think you’re exempt not just from serious illness but from the fact that you could be spreading the infection.”
Fauci spoke more about the coronavirus and young people in his interview with Noah. “Although you are young, you are not absolutely invulnerable,” he said. He added that even though young people may not become seriously ill from COVID-19, “it can infect another person, which would then infect a vulnerable person, then die … Go home, infect grandmother, grandfather and your sick uncle. So you have a responsibility not only to protect yourself, but you almost have a social and moral responsibility to protect other people. ” And for more information on high-risk populations, see These Conditions Increase Your Risk of Severe Coronavirus Disease.
In an online interview with the Buck Institute earlier this month, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Robert Redfield, MD, frankly discussed how school closings have affected children and teens across the country, and how previously existing problems are becoming an even bigger problem for youth. “Unfortunately, we are seeing much greater suicides now than COVID deaths. We are seeing much higher deaths from drug overdoses that are above the excess we had as a history than deaths from COVIDRedfield said.
His comments highlight issues that were already considered epidemics in the US but have seen a tragic increase for youth in the months since COVID-19 forced the national shutdown. A report released by the American Medical Association (AMA) in early July stated that they were “very concerned about an increasing number of national, state and local media reports suggesting increases in opioid-related mortality,” citing an increase in overdoses in 35 states.
These problems have become even more alarming because the assistance and resources dedicated to them have been overwhelmed by COVID or are now simply too dangerous to access. A June survey by the Addiction Policy Forum found that 20 percent of respondents reported an increase in substance abuse and 34 percent reported a change in their recovery or treatment due to the pandemic.
“I am a strong supporter of the idea that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, the opposite of addiction is connection.” Mike Brumage, MD, former director of the West Virginia Office of Drug Control Policy, said The Guardian. “Clearly, what we have lost with the pandemic is a loss of connection.”
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And as the growing epidemic of substance abuse continues to worsen, suicide among young people continues to pose a serious threat to public health. According to the CDC, suicide is the leading cause of death for people ages 10 to 34 in the United States.
With the pandemic-related isolation caused by school closings and patterns of social distancing, many vulnerable youth face mental health problems now more than ever. “A lot of people are calling attention to the coronavirus because it is right in front of us,” an 18-year-old told NPR. “But at the same time, the rate of teen depression is a silent threat.” And for more mental health tips, check out 14 expertly backed ways to improve your mental health every day.
Gallery: 6 Ways America Has Been Tracking Incorrect COVID, Says Former CDC Chief (Best Life)
6 Ways America Has Been Tracking Incorrect COVID, Says Former CDC Chief
1. The number of infections whose sources are unknown.
2. The infection rate among health workers.
3. Isolation of symptomatic patients.
4. How many close contacts test positive in quarantine.
5. Local spread of coronavirus.
6. The “excess mortality” rate.