The coronavirus seems to be spreading faster than any of us could anticipate. This has lead to some very drastic measures around the world — from complete lockdowns of entire countries, the shutdown of the travel industry, panic buying of hand sanitizer, and mass rollouts of medical testing. The latter element has been done better in some countries than in others. Case in point, South Korea, which has mastered testing and done so for more people in their population than any other country thus far. It’s not even close — they’re testing people at a rate 30 times faster than in the U.S.
That, in turn, means that they have some serious data about the spread of the virus that other countries simply don’t have and likely desperately need. What sort? Well, brace yourself if you’re in the 20 to 29 age range and you’ve been told you’re the least likely to get sick. It turns out two things are happening with the virus in South Korea. One, 20 to 29-year-olds are actually the age range most likely to get the virus. In fact, 28.2 percent of cases have been in that age range alone. Two, they’re also the age range most likely to spread the virus to other, more at-risk groups. (Incidentally, the next age range with the highest infection rates was the more vulnerable 50 to 59-year-old segment, at 19.2 percent.)
The data shows a couple of reasons why this is happening. People in that age range generally only show mild symptoms and have been indoctrinated through media that they’re unlikely to get sick. That, in turn, means people in that age range are more likely to break curfews, shun lockdowns, and socialize far more than any other group. That, of course, means that they’re getting other people sick. The data also shows that people in the higher age ranges are much more likely to die from the virus they may well have contracted from their kids or grandkids.
— Tim Hogan (@timjhogan) March 18, 2020
The data shows that even though South Korea has one of the lowest death rates of any nation with the virus (thanks to early and comprehensive testing), 37.3 percent of deaths did occur in the 70 to 79 age range — even though those people have ten times less social contacts on average than 20 to 29-year-olds, according to reporting in the German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel. This is all to say, let’s be real, those people got infected from someone and statistically speaking, it was someone younger. Interestingly, The New York Times has just reported that of the first 2,500 hospitalizations in the U.S., 29 percent were in the 20 to 44 age range. That mirrors the data from South Korea.
What does this all mean? Well, stay at home. Even if you don’t show symptoms, it doesn’t mean you’re not carrying the coronavirus and you may well be spreading it unknowingly. We have data to back that up now.