Younger people who haven’t been vaccinated are helping drive a rise in new Covid-19 cases, health officials are finding.
Five states—Michigan, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey—account for some 42% of newly reported cases. In Michigan, adults aged 20 to 39 have the highest daily case rates, new data show. Case rates for children aged 19 and under are at a record, more than quadruple from a month ago. There were 301 reported school outbreaks as of early last week, up from 248 the week prior, according to state data.
Epidemiologists and public-health authorities have pointed to school sports as a major source of Covid-19 transmission. Since January, K-12 sports transmission in Michigan has been highest in basketball, with 376 cases and 100 clusters; in hockey, with 256 cases and 52 clusters; and in wrestling, with 190 cases and 55 clusters. Overall, cases and clusters have occurred in over 15 sport settings, data from the state shows.
Driving the overall uptick among younger people in Michigan, and more broadly, is a confluence of fatigue from the pandemic, which is leading some people to engage in more close contact, and the spread of the more transmissible U.K. variant, known as B.1.1.7.
“It used to be that we had clusters of the variant. The cases were in fairly contained situations. Now, we’re definitely seeing cases of the variant arise in the general community,” said Emily Toth Martin, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at University of Michigan School of Public Health. “It’s concerning that we see big explosive rises in groups where we can’t use the vaccine.”