While the number of coronavirus cases in Chicago continues to flatten, the city is seeing an increase among younger residents, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health.
The trend among youths and young adults mirrors what’s been happening nationally, Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady told reporters Friday on a conference call.
Nearly 30% of those who tested positive in the last month are between 18 and 29 years old. Those cases are concentrated in the Lincoln Park and New City areas.
Arwady suggests restlessness and a perception among youth that they won’t fall severely ill or die from the disease like older Chicagoans has contributed to the rise.
“Young Chicagoans, like all Chicagoans, are getting a little bit of COVID fatigue and may be being less careful about diligent mask wearing and being careful,” Arwady said. She urged caution, saying that being a carrier of the virus puts others at risk, particularly in multi-generational households.
Arwady said she has also seen “more gatherings in those younger groups” in Chicago and the rest of the country. Those gatherings make this age group particularly susceptible to the virus, she added. “We’ve seen a lot of COVID that is being spread, especially in social settings.”
“There is no such thing as an entirely safe gathering,” Arwady warned, saying her department has seen a “fair among of spread” in what she described as “informal social settings.”
Despite the concentration of positive cases among younger adults in Chicago, the city’s positivity rate remains flat and the hospitalization rate — the most crucial data point for Arwady — is low.
Claudia Morell covers City Hall for WBEZ. Follow her on Twitter @ClaudiaMorell.