During the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, prevalent misinformation circulated about teens and young children being less likely to get the virus. However, as the summer has gone on, and restrictions have been slowly lifted, the data of new cases in Michigan has proven otherwise.
As restrictions were lifted, and summer activities where minimal social distancing and mask wearing became prevalent, the cases of teens aged 15 to 19 began to rise. At the beginning of the pandemic children and teens made up 1% to 3% of cases in Michigan, as of the first week of August that rose to 5.7% to 7.4% of cases.
William Ridella, Director and Health Officer for the Macomb County Health Department shared his thoughts on the increase of cases among teens explaining, “Events like graduation parties, proms, and house parties are contributing to this increase, but any type of large event or gathering where people fail to take appropriate precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19 is a contributing factor.”
Although some Michiganders in this age bracket are experiencing the extreme symptoms seen around the country, many of their conditions are mild to asymptomatic. This leads to fast spreading that some are calling “super-spreader events”, creating hot spots around Michigan. One well known example is the super-spreader event that took place at Harper’s Restaurant and Brewpub in East Lansing, Michigan. This outbreak in June led to over 200 people getting infected with COVID-19 around the state.
The increased spread is also becoming difficult to manage because of a lack of cooperation with health officials. Contact tracing is one of the best ways to slow spread and stop an outbreak in its tracks, however many teens in this age bracket are weary to cooperate with health officials over concerns about getting in trouble or getting friends in trouble.
To learn more about the increased spread of COVID-19 among teens, and how it’s affecting school re-openings and impacting communities in Michigan, head to the Detroit Free Press here.