Risky behavior is now charted as younger people contract COVID-19

Coronavirus

HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — The death toll from COVID-19 stands at more than 130,000 people in the United States.

The number of open cases in the country is also increasing every day.

During the beginning of most of the cases were seniors, well into retirement. Now, things have changed.

“I can see that there’s a younger population in our region that seems to be positive for the virus,” said Dr. Jose Campo Maldonado.

Nationally the resurgence of the virus is now impacting younger adults, that need to leave their home for work and school.

“I can say that 56 percent in Hidalgo County with reported cases are less than 40-years-old,” he said.

Dr. Jose Campo Maldonado is an infectious disease specialist and professor at UTRGV and said younger cases are popping up in the Valley.

“For UTRGV testing most of the people showing up for testing overall have been 65 percent, 40 years [old] or less,” he said.

The Texas Medical Association released a scale for people to stay informed on the dangerous activities like going to the gym can be. The chart starts and ranks the risk factors of everyday activities from opening mail to going to a bar. Bars score a nine for putting people at the highest risk of catching COVID-19. Getting the mail is ranked a one, meaning it’s low risk.  

“We need to remember if we stay home that’s the best way to be in contact with someone that’s infected,” said Dr. Maldonado.

As doctors work to understand the virus-they’re hoping social distancing, masks and frequent hygiene will lower the chances of the virus spreading.

“Younger people tend to go out more. I know it may be harder to restrict or change those behaviors but as much as possible you should try to do this. You’re not just protecting yourself but others and we know that younger individuals who have obesity also have higher risk.  We know there’s some people with certain blood types who are higher risk so it doesn’t matter if you are young or old you can still have some risk factors that put you at higher risk,” he said.

Health officials say right now older people are dying at a higher rate than young people infected with the virus but doctors urge younger people are not spared from the severe symptoms the virus causes.

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