Students in Boulder, Colorado, on Aug. 18. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

The World Health Organization warned at a news briefing on Tuesday that "people in their 20s, 30s and 40s" are increasingly the primary spreaders of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: The words of caution come as schools and colleges across the United States weigh the risks of in-person classes, which could exacerbate the trend of young people transmitting the virus.

What they're saying: "The epidemic is changing," Takeshi Kasai, the WHO’s Western Pacific regional director, said. "Many are unaware they’re infected — with very mild symptoms or none at all. This can result in them unknowingly passing on the virus to others."

  • "This increases the risk of spillovers to the most vulnerable: the elderly, the sick, people in long-term care, people who live in densely populated urban areas and under-served rural areas. We must redouble efforts to stop the virus from moving into vulnerable communities."

The big picture: About half of the clusters in a study of outbreaks in Japan were traced back to people aged 20–39 at karaoke bars, offices and restaurants — and 41% of them did not have symptoms at the time.

Go deeper: More young people are getting — and spreading — the coronavirus

Go deeper

23 hours ago - Health

U.S. reaches 200,000 coronavirus deaths

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Chart: Axios Visuals

The coronavirus has now killed 200,000 Americans, according to Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: Whatever context you try to put this in, it is a catastrophe of historic proportions — and is yet another reminder of America's horrific failure to contain the virus.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
4 hours ago - Health

Supply shortages continue to plague COVID-19 testing

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Supply shortages are still a problem for coronavirus testing, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: Health systems are being forced to limit who gets tested, sometimes limiting tests to the most essential patients — which is far from an ideal testing strategy.

Sep 22, 2020 - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: Vaccine resistance grows

Data: Axios/Ipsos surveys. 1,100 U.S adults surveyed Aug. 28-31, 2020, and 1,008 U.S. adults surveyed Sept. 18-21,2020; Chart: Axios Visuals

The share of Americans eager to try a first-generation coronavirus vaccine dropped significantly in the latest installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index, as President Trump hyped suggestions that one could be ready before the election.

Why it matters: As the U.S. reaches a milestone of 200,000 deaths, this underscores the risks of politicizing the virus and its treatments.

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