A troubling trend seems to be emerging in the coronavirus pandemic: nearly half of California's newly diagnosed cases are young people.
A Bay Area scientist says he looked at the declining number of COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations and suspected more young people were getting the virus. He said it turns out his theory was right.
New data shows a surprising number of those newly diagnosed with COVID-19 in the state are under the age of 35. In the latest analysis, those under 35 account for 44% of the cases -- which is up from 29% a month ago.
"That's really bad, and shocking," said Dr. George Lemp, an infectious disease epidemiologist who crunched the numbers.
Lemp said it may be that young people are letting their guard down.
"It may reflect the opening up of California since mid May, particularly among younger people who may have started to move away from the practices of social distancing and persistent mask use," Lemp said.
Young adults interviewed by NBC Bay Area said they are not really worried.
"I keep my hands clean, wash my hands and make sure I keep my hygiene up," Raemani Lafo said.
It also is too soon to know if the huge protest marches across the country -- bringing together thousands of younger people -- may be playing a role too.