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Rapid Rise of COVID-19 Cases Among Younger People

Péter Cseresnyés 2020.08.11.

Almost half of those infected in Hungary were under the age of 40, according to a report by Semmelweis University. The most likely reason behind the surge is that many of those infected had traveled abroad or met a relative or friend who returned home from a trip abroad.

Following the eradication of institutional infections, the number of coronavirus infections among those aged 60 and over decreased significantly in June, and only 63 infected people from this age group were found in July.

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The proportion of the most vulnerable age group is at an all-time low among those infected, at only 17%.

In contrast, the number of people getting infected under the age of 40 is on a steady rise, according to a study by Semmelweis University based on national data, with the younger age group already accounting for 44% of the July cases.

Younger people typically have a more favorable disease course, and although the virus attacks them as well, they are less likely to need hospital care.

The report states that one of the main reasons why the virus is currently spreading among the younger age groups in Hungary is that many of those infected had traveled abroad just before they became ill, or met a relative, friend, or colleague who had just returned home from a trip abroad.

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Semmelweis University does not recommend traveling abroad but advises those who have an urgent business outside of Hungary to check the detailed data for the current COVID risk published on the website of the European Commission’s Joint Research Center (JRC).

The University also emphasizes that it is still crucial to wear masks indoors and in large groups, while frequent, thorough hand-washing is still the most essential precaution to prevent the spread of the virus.

The increase in the proportion of infections among younger people in Hungary may also leave its mark on the school start in September. Although the government plans to begin the school year normally, it might be necessary to restart digital education in preparation for a second wave of the coronavirus epidemic.

Featured photo by Attila Balázs/MTI