By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Health officials have a message for young people: do not let your guard down. Officials say 39% of coronavirus patients are between 25 and 49 years old.

California had the first death of a COVID-19 patient younger than 18 years old earlier this week.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting that young people may be more susceptible to becoming critically ill than they previously thought.

“If I get corona, I get corona. At the end of the day, I’m not going to let it stop me from partying,” a man on spring break recently said.

Coronavirus Philly: More Than Half Of City’s COVID-19 Cases Are People Younger Than 40

There were cringe-worthy scenes from spring break as young people were seen congregating in the face of the coronavirus outbreak. Now, a growing number of young people are being diagnosed with the virus.

Philadelphia’s Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said Thursday that 18 new cases in the city are under the age of 20.

“I mainly just have congestion and I cough,” said Emily Kleinfelter, who has COVID-19. “I also experienced a little bit of a fever.”

The CDC says close to 40% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 are between the age of 20 and 54.

“Because of the rapid spread, everyone’s really worried. I have a friend, like multiple friends, in the hospital right now,” one college student said.

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The surgeon general says vaping might be causing the more serious COVID-19 infections among young people.

“People who are chronically vaping are doing damage to their lungs. They don’t realize it until they get an infection, an insult into their respiratory system, which the COVID-19 virus is,” Dr. Dean Drosnes said.

Even before the coronavirus outbreak, the vaping epidemic among young Americans caused a spike in serious lung injuries.


Caron Treatment Centers is now offering an online vaping cessation course.

“This is the perfect time to stop vaping and using an online platform as you’re hunkered down at home and isolating yourself,” Drosnes said “Do something that’s good for you. This is a great time.”

While COVID-19 can be dangerous for young people, senior citizens remain at high risk.

Stephanie Stahl