The World Health Organization (WHO) warned everyone during a virtual press conference on Thursday that the COVID-19 pandemic is changing. 

Young people “in their 20s, 30s, and 40s” are propelling the spread of the coronavirus, said Dr. Takeshi Kasai, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific. 

Data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that in mid-march, COVID-19 cases in the US is higher in the older age groups. 

However, two months ago the numbers showed a different situation.

According to CDC’s January to June data more than 70% of the positive COVID-19 cases in the US consist of people in their twenties to fifties. 

Dr. Kasai’s words are a reiteration of WHO’s July statement reminding young people that they are not invincible from the coronavirus. 

Young people are mostly unaware that they are already a carrier of the virus due to the mild or lack of coronavirus symptoms in their systems.

However, it also means that they can unknowingly pass the virus to other people. 

This is dangerous, especially in increasing the risk of spreading the virus among the more vulnerable groups including the elderly, the sick, the immunocompromised people, and those living in densely-populated areas. 

“We may see a pattern of younger people being affected initially,” said Alison Galvani, an epidemiologist from Yale University, as per an Axios report. 

However, after a few weeks, it is also possible to see the deadlier effects of the virus spreading amongst the elderly.

Emerging Lessons During The Pandemic

During the video conference, Dr. Kasai mentioned countries in the West Asia Pacific to use as examples during his speech.

However, the lessons he had shared during the event were also applicable to other countries worldwide.

Dr. Takeshi mentioned that countries should make their response and preparedness capacities “scalable” depending on the need. 

Another lesson is to prepare and invest in the future of public health and “health emergency preparedness.”

Lastly, everyone should “continue to refine, learn, and adjust” to the “new normal” under COVID-19.

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