Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Thursday that the city is starting to see an increase in coronavirus cases within younger populations, citing a lack of young people wearing masks.
"Unfortunately, we're starting to see, even here in Chicago, a slight uptick in the amount of cases involving that 18- to 29-year-old cohort," Lightfoot said. "They're not wearing face coverings at the rate that they should. I'd like to see it be 100% but we need to keep talking to that young group and say, even if you don't have regard for your own health, and you should."
Though Chicago's data shows the number of cases affecting those in the 18-29 range have dropped dramatically since May and early June, the numbers did show a small spike earlier this month.
On Tuesday, 30 people in that age range tested positive for the virus, but just one week earlier, the number was more than double that.
In total, patients between the ages of 18 and 29 have made up the highest amount of Chicago's 54,050 cases, with 10,226 total cases so far. The age group also has one of the highest positivity rates in the city, with 5.8%. That's just under the 5.9% reported for patients between the ages of 0 to 17.
Still, the age group also has the second-lowest amount of deaths, with 18 total fatalities reported so far.
The average age of new coronavirus patients has dropped by roughly 15 years compared with only a few months ago as the coronavirus reignites in some states, White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Monday.
“The average age of people getting infected now is a decade and a half younger than it was a few months ago particularly when New York and New Orleans and Chicago were getting hit very badly,” Fauci said.
Some health officials say that’s why COVID-19 deaths have dropped even as cases surge since the virus is more fatal in older populations. However, several health experts, including Fauci, have warned that deaths will increase over time, especially as younger patients infect older and more vulnerable people.
That was a point emphasized by Lightfoot Thursday as she urged people to continue wearing masks.
"The reality is, when you're out in congregate settings, whether it's at work, whether it's at a bar or restaurant, or some other form of entertainment or exercise, you are increasing your risk," she said. "And then you're bringing that back to your household. If you've got anybody in your household - a mom, a dad, a grandma, even a sibling - that's got some kind of underlying medical condition, if you don't wear a face covering, you are increasing the risk for them."