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Younger adults are fueling California’s coronavirus pandemic like never before, health officials are warning, and massive parties and other large social gatherings are threatening to unravel the progress the state is making.

A second surge of COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County has been fueled by skyrocketing growth in disease transmission and hospitalizations among the youngest adults. Residents under the age of 50 now make up 60% of new coronavirus cases in L.A. County, the county’s public health director, Barbara Ferrer, said.

Young people may feel they are at low risk of becoming seriously ill or dying of the virus. But experts say they can serve as “super spreaders,” easily transmitting the illness to others who are more vulnerable, especially older relatives.

It’s important to ask, Ferrer said, “why so many people are willing to put our entire community at risk during this unprecedented pandemic.”

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