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Adults 20 to 49 Account for 72% of COVID19 Transmission

Researchers from Imperial College London analyzed age-specific cell phone mobility data of more than 10 million Americans and linked them to age-specific COVID19 death data starting on Mar 15, 2020. Data from 42 US states, Washington, DC, and New York City showed that the number of visits to places such as supermarkets and restaurants began to rebound across all age-groups in August after many cities and states eased their mitigation measures.

Among all locations until mid-August, the 35- to 49-year age-group was estimated to have contributed to 41.1% of virus transmission, compared with 2.1% in those aged 0 to 9 years, 4.0% in those 10 to 19, 34.7% in those 20 to 34, 15.3% in those 50 to 64, 2.5% in those 65 to 79, and 0.3% in those 80 and older.

By October 2020, the 20- to 49-year age-group accounted for 72.2% viral transmission, while teens 10 to 19 accounted for 10% and lchildren 0 to 9 less than 5%.

Adults aged 20-49 had the most contacts with other adults aged 20 and above. The study concluded that adults aged 20-49 were the primary spreaders of the COVID19 epidemic in the United States. This dynamic did not change significantly after schools began re-opening. The authors suggested vaccination of people 20 to 49 years would reduce the risk of future COVID19 surges and deaths.


Monod M et al. Age groups that sustain resurging COVID-19 epidemics in the United States. Science 02 Feb 2021:eabe8372 DOI: 10.1126/science.abe8372

CIDRAP News, February 3, 2021

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