A new analysis of testing data from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services by the Hospital Industry Data Institute finds that the rate of positive COVID-19 tests are increasing for younger Missourians.
“Missouri’s data indicates at the COVID-19 peak in Missouri, the average age of new COVID cases was 56 years,” said Herb B. Kuhn, MHA President and CEO. “By June 20, the average age had dropped to 38. Because younger Missourians are more likely to be asymptomatic or avoid the worst effects of the disease, they have a special responsibility to safeguard others.”
Early research on the disease found age-related risk for those over age 50 progresses by decade. Individuals in their 60s are five times as likely to die from the disease, while individuals in their 70s were 8.5 times as likely. Individuals age 80 and older face an 11-fold risk of death. Conversely, youth is a strong protective factor. Underlying conditions that can increase the risk of poor outcomes, including diabetes, heart and pulmonary disease, are less prevalent in young Missourians, which helps fight off secondary lung infections.
“All Missourians should continue to engage in the basic protections recommended by physicians and public health professionals,” said Brian Bowles, Executive Director of the Missouri Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons. “While younger Missourians may have fewer acute cases of COVID-19, it is essential that they are part of the solution by using masks, hygiene practices and physical distancing.”
Missourians under age 45 make up 57% of the population they’re also the most likely to be exposed to coronavirus by returning to work or participating in social events. During the first week of March, Missourians under age 45 accounted for 23% of COVID-19 cases in the state. Data from the third week of June finds they now account for 63% of new cases.
“Wearing a mask not only protects the individual, but reduces transmission by asymptomatic COVID-19 carriers,” said Patrick Mills, Executive Vice President of the Missouri State Medical Association. “With the younger demographic making up a larger slice of the population testing positive for COVID-19, it’s an easy and smart way to protect yourself and older family members.”
Missourians of all ages are urged to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. These public health prevention practices include social distancing, hand washing, staying at home when sick, covering coughs and sneezes, and wearing a face mask when in public places.
# # #