Proportion of young people with coronavirus has tripled in five months, WHO warns

·2-min read
People dance and enjoy an open air party in Saint-Denis, north of Paris on August 1st, 2020. - It took an epidemic, the closure of clubs and a relative permissiveness of the authorities for Paris to become in one summer a sanctuary of the "free party", these underground techno parties, some of which gathered in July, up to a thousand of people. The epicenter of this phenomenon is in the Bois de Vincennes, where a dozens of musical scenes are set illegally in the depths of the woods. (Photo by GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT / AFP) (Photo by GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT/AFP via Getty Images)
An open-air party in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, France. (Getty)

Young people going to nightclubs and beaches has led to a rise in new coronavirus cases across the globe, the World Health Organization has said.

The proportion of those aged 15 to 24 who are infected has tripled from 4.5% to 15% in about five months, according to the WHO.

Apart from the United States, which leads a global tally with 4.8 million total cases, European countries including Spain, Germany and France and Asian countries such as Japan have said many of the newly infected are young people.

Figures from England show infections have been primarily in older groups but recent stats showed positive tests in younger people aged 15-44 had risen.

The highest infection rate in England at the moment (excluding over 85s) is among the 15-44 age group and the latest Public Health England weekly surveillance report showed this rate was rising slightly.

A recent study from Imperial College London involving 120,000 swabs taken in England showed those aged 18-24 had the highest levels of infection.

"We've said this before and we'll say it again: young people are not invincible," WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news briefing in Geneva.

"Young people can be infected, young people can die, and young people can transmit the virus to others."

People enjoy the beach in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, July 18, 2020. Police in Barcelona are closing access to a large area of the city's beaches due to the excess of sunbathers who decided to ignore the urgings of authorities to stay at home amid a resurgence of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
People enjoy the beach in Barcelona, Spain. (AP)

Last week Dr Hans Kluge, Europe regional director for the WHO, warned young people could be spreading coronavirus, which could lead to a second wave in different parts of the world.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “An increasing number of countries are experiencing localised outbreaks and a resurge in cases.

“What we do know, is that it’s a consequence of change in human behaviour.

“We’re receiving reports from several health authorities of a higher proportion of new infections among young people.

“So for me, the call is loud enough to rethink how to better involve young people.”

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