Health

Published on August 19th, 2020 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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Young People Are Primary Coronavirus Spreaders, WHO Warns

The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a blunt warning as many schools and universities around the world grapple with how to reopen safely: young people are the main spreaders of the coronavirus, according to a news briefing hosted by the WHO.

“People in their 20s, 30s and 40s are increasingly driving the spread,” Takeshi Kasai, the WHO’s Western Pacific regional director, said at the briefing. “The epidemic is changing.”

Many colleges are noticing that trend anecdotally. Just after re-opening for in person education, the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill had to transition to remote learning after outbreaks occurred in fraternities and residence halls. The University of Notre Dame in Indiana also announced that it was going fully remote for the next two weeks after a surge of infections around campus.

“In just the past week (Aug. 10-16), we have seen COVID-19 positivity rate rise from 2.8 percent to 13.6 percent at Campus Health,” said Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and Vice Chancellor Robert Brown in a letter about a week after classes started, as CNN reported. “As of this morning, we have tested 954 students and have 177 in isolation and 349 in quarantine, both on and off campus,” the letter said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a blunt warning as many schools and universities around the world grapple with how to reopen safely: young people are the main spreaders of the coronavirus, according to a news briefing hosted by the WHO on Tuesday.

“People in their 20s, 30s and 40s are increasingly driving the spread,” Takeshi Kasai, the WHO’s Western Pacific regional director, said at the briefing. “The epidemic is changing.”

Many colleges are noticing that trend anecdotally. Just after re-opening for in person education, the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill had to transition to remote learning after outbreaks occurred in fraternities and residence halls. The University of Notre Dame in Indiana also announced that it was going fully remote for the next two weeks after a surge of infections around campus.

“In just the past week (Aug. 10-16), we have seen COVID-19 positivity rate rise from 2.8 percent to 13.6 percent at Campus Health,” said Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and Vice Chancellor Robert Brown in a letter about a week after classes started, as CNN reported. “we have tested 954 students and have 177 in isolation and 349 in quarantine, both on and off campus,” the letter said.

The recent uptick in cases in the Asia-Pacific region has been alarming for officials. Recently, both Vietnam and New Zealand, which seemed to have the virus under control and had gone months without a new case, saw a new cluster of infections, according to Reuters.

“What we are observing is not simply a resurgence. We believe it’s a signal that we have entered a new phase of pandemic in the Asia-Pacific,” Kasai said, as Reuters reported.

“We just need to make sure the message is getting out, particularly to young people, particularly to children and young adults, that you are not invulnerable to this and you can get infected,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO’s emerging disease and zoonosis unit, as The Washington Post reported. “We are seeing young people who are dying from this virus.”


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