While those 65 years and older are generally considered to be at higher risk of developing serious complications from the novel coronavirus, the vast majority of diagnosed cases in L.A. County have actually been among younger and middle-aged adults.
That’s according to the latest data from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
As of Monday, 415 of the 516 cases confirmed by the agency — about 80% — were between the ages of 18 and 65. And 217 of the total cases — approximately 42% — are people between the ages of 18 and 40.
On Tuesday, public health officials announced the first death of a patient under the age of 18.
L.A. County Department of Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer called it a “devastating reminder that COVID-19 infects people of all ages.”
The health department underscored the large volume of cases in younger populations as they highlighted the importance of compliance with L.A. County’s “safer at home” order, which was issued late last week and will be in effect until at least April 19.
The measure directs residents to stay in their homes and only go out for essential activities, which includes getting food, water and medicine, as well as for exercise. Whenever people go out, they are encouraged to keep a distance of six feet from others at all times in an effort to slow the virus’ spread.
Similar “stay-at-home” orders are in effect in California and across the country.
While older individuals and those with underlying conditions are considered most at risk for developing severe illness, the latest data shows that younger people are also being infected in large numbers. And even if those in that group are not becoming as sick, they are still spreading COVID-19.
Public health officials reminded the public on Monday that everyone — regardless of age — should follow the order.
“COVID-19 can infect people of all ages. Everyone, no matter their age, is #saferathome,” the agency tweeted on Monday.
The L.A. County figures are similar to statewide numbers released Monday, which showed that about three-quarters of cases statewide have been confirmed in those under the age of 65.