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.
- Some young people can and do get very sick from the coronavirus. Some have developed blood clots in their lungs and inflammation of the heart, lungs and brain.
- Michigan State University, University of Notre Dame and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill all announced this week they will be holding online-only classes for the fall term.
- Notre Dame and UNC-Chapel Hill both reported a spike in COVID-19 cases within their student bodies.