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Young People Driving New COVID-19 Cases in L.A. County but Deaths Remain Highest Among Older Residents

Cases of COVID-19 in L.A. County by age (left), deaths from the virus by age (right). | Graphs courtesy of L.A. County Department of Public Health

Younger people continue to drive community transmission of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County. Over 70% of the 521 new cases Saturday were from people younger than 50 years old while 93% of the reported 56 deaths were among those older than 50. Residents between the ages of 30 and 49 years old have the highest percent of new cases at 33%, followed by residents between the ages of 18 and 29 years old, comprising 24% of all new cases.

“Many younger people are out socializing with non-household members, raising concerns that asymptomatic young people are unknowingly helping to spread the virus to more vulnerable people,” explained L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer. “Though we are making good progress in our vaccination efforts, we are entering a potentially perilous time if people let their guard down. It is important that we remain disciplined in our adherence to use of face masks, physical distancing, avoiding large gatherings, and delaying any non-essential travel. This is particularly important with the recent movement of the county to the red tier and as restrictions get lifted.”

Last week, L.A. County moved into the red tier of the state’s reopening blueprint which allowed for the loosening of some restrictions. But in a statement, public health officials urged residents to “continue exercising caution as more sectors reopen and some activity restrictions get lifted. Just because certain activities can resume or reopening protocols are revised, that does not mean that those activities are safe or without risk.” 

In the red tier, private gatherings are now allowed with up to three separate households, with masking and distancing required at all times. Though outdoor gathering are preferred over those held indoors, people who are fully vaccinated can gather in small numbers inside without required masking and distancing. Gatherings, even with people who have no symptoms and have tested negative, can still result in spread of the virus. 

March 22, 2021

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