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‘Disproportional number’ of millennials are seriously ill from coronavirus

The federal government had a new message for millennials Wednesday: You may be more at risk than previously thought.

HOUSTON — From the beginning, experts have said most young people will have only mild symptoms if they get the coronavirus. Others won’t even know they have it.

The information was based on statistics from China, where the virus originated, and more than 80,000 people have been diagnosed.

But more recent statistics from European countries show some millennials and Gen X patients are getting very sick.

“There are concerning reports coming out of France and Italy about some young people getting seriously ill and very seriously ill in the ICUs,” said Dr. Deborah Birx, who is leading the White House coronavirus task force.

In Texas, the coronavirus patients who are in critical condition include: A Dallas-area woman in her 20s; a Dallas-area woman in her 30s; A man and woman in their 40s in Montgomery County; and a man in his 40s in Lewisville.

All of these cases were community spread and none had underlying conditions, according to reports.

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Dr. Birx said the concerning numbers might be because a higher number of millennials now have coronavirus since many had a false sense of security and ignored warnings about social distancing. 

In China, everyone was forced to quarantine.

“There may be disproportional number of infections among that group and so, even if it’s a rare occurrence, it may be seen more frequently in that group,” Dr. Birx said.

She urged millennials, the largest generation in the U.S., to take the warnings seriously and stay home to protect their own health and others.

“We are not only calling on you to heed what’s in the guidance but to really ensure that each and every one of you are protecting each other.”

Birx said the task force hasn’t seen any concerning numbers involving children with coronavirus.

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Coronavirus symptoms 

The symptoms of coronavirus can be similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80 percent of the cases there were mild.

But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk.

The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.

Human coronaviruses are usually spread through...

  • The air by coughing or sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.

Help stop the spread of coronavirus

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Eat and sleep separately from your family members
  • Use different utensils and dishes
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm, not your hand.
  • If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.

Lower your risk

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.

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