COVID-19 Watch

Experts explain why so many Austin coronavirus patients are younger than 40

Experts explain why so many Austin coronavirus patients are under 40

Patient info chart at doctor's office
Nearly half of Austin's coronavirus patients are younger than 40. Local experts aren't surprised. iStock

KVUE — As more people test positive for the coronavirus, local health districts in the Austin area are increasingly sharing more data about these cases.

On Tuesday, March 24, Austin Public Health shared the age groups of people testing positive in Austin and Travis County. As of Tuesday, the number of positive cases was at 98.
That number increased to 119 on Wednesday, however, age-group data was not yet available.

Of 98 positive cases reported on Tuesday, more than half (55) were people under the age of 40, according to data provided by a city spokesperson.

Dr. Shelley Payne, the interim director at John Ring LaMontagne Center for Infectious Disease at the University of Texas at Austin, told KVUE the numbers don’t surprise her

"Austin is a younger city, and it's not unexpected that there would be more infections showing up in that population,” she said.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Alternate Health Authority Dr. Jason Pickett said the city has expanded its testing to include younger people.

Its testing used to focus on health care workers and people over the age of 65.

“Now that we have more widespread testing, we are testing more younger, healthier people, so we're going to find those infections,” Dr. Pickett said.

However, even though more young people are testing positive for the coronavirus, Dr. Payne said this does not mean that older people are at any less risk.

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Read the full story on KVUE.

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