The surge in new coronavirus cases that has alarmed health officials and put renewed strain on hospitals appears to be driven at least in part by increases in younger Californians falling sick.
As of Wednesday, 56% of people diagnosed with COVID-19 were 18 to 49 years old, though they account for only 43.5% of the state’s population. That figure has risen consistently throughout the outbreak but surged sharply in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, people older than 65, who used to make up nearly a quarter of those testing positive for COVID-19, now account for fewer than 15% of positive coronavirus tests, roughly in line with their proportion of the population.
The changes may be due in part to expanded testing. Early in the outbreak, it was nearly impossible to get a test for the coronavirus unless one was sick enough to be hospitalized. Because young people are less likely to get severely ill with COVID-19, they may not have been captured in testing numbers.
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