Younger patients in the region testing positive for coronavirus

Erin Carroll, Clay Colehouse, Jessica Goblin, Travis Victorio, Mary Fitzell
FILE — Young Anne Arundel County residents enjoy lunch during a visit to Annapolis, Monday, March 16, 2020. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan ordered the closure of bars, restaurants, gyms and movie theaters across the state in response to coronavirus beginning at 5 p.m. Monday. Drive-thru, carryout and delivery service will still be allowed. The friends gathered for lunch because they are home from college. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

As testing increases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that it is seeing younger patients test positive for the new coronavirus.

In its analysis of new data compiled of coronavirus cases in the U.S. from Feb. 12 through March 12, the CDC found 20% of patients diagnosed with coronavirus were between the ages of 20-40.

One of D.C.’s earlier cases from last week included a 24-year-old man.

In Maryland, an infant and a teenager both became the first in their age groups to receive a positive diagnosis for COVID-19 this week.

A number of area universities have also confirmed positive cases among their student communities. An on-campus American University student and an off-campus George Washington University student have tested positive. So have a student at George Mason University and a student at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Though symptom risks vary with age, 1 in 5 patients hospitalized were young adults, the CDC study found. Patients younger than 20 had milder symptoms and none have died, the study said.

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is asking young people to take the outbreak seriously.

“Today, I have a message for young people: You’re not invincible,” he said. “This virus could put you in hospital for weeks or even kill you. Even if you don’t get sick, the choices you make about where you go could be the difference.”

He said data from many countries shows people aged 50 and under make up a “significant proportion” of patients who need hospitalization, according to The Associated Press.

WTOP’s Teta Alim and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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