By Dr. Henning Ansorg, M.D., FACP, Health Officer County of Santa Barbara, Department of Public Health
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Young people are not immune to COVID-19, as we have seen in recent weeks with a dramatic increase in virus cases in people ages 18-40. Unfortunately, there are more young adults experiencing severe complications, facing hospitalizations and even dying from the virus, according to new data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Why are we seeing this surge in COVID-19 cases in younger people? One reason may be a belief that as a young person, you are naturally healthy. But unless you consistently have annual check-ups, you are less likely to detect any underlying health problems. Unfortunately, many young adults feel they are in good health and therefore don’t regularly see a healthcare provider until something goes wrong.
Another reason for the increase in young people may be social behaviors that are often prevalent with young adults, which have encouraged the virus to spread more easily among this population. As states around the country relaxed business closure restrictions, many young adults frequented bars, restaurants and beaches, which increased their vulnerability to contracting the virus. The risk is further increased by lack of adherence to key practices of social isolation, distancing protocols and wearing masks in public.
For the most part, older adults are more aware of their limitations as well as their medical conditions, and they are usually socially isolating and taking all necessary precautions. It’s commonly known that as we age, we become more susceptible to disease and disability.
We strongly encourage everyone to adhere to Health Orders including wearing a mask, maintaining six-foot distancing from others, staying home whenever possible and remain at home when you are sick.
Dr. Henning Ansorg, M.D., FACP is a graduate of Justus-Liebig-University Medical School Giessen, Germany. He completed Residency training in Munich, Germany and Tucson, AZ and is board certified in Family Practice (Germany) and Internal Medicine (USA). Dr. Ansorg is a Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine and a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and is on the Medical Staff at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara. He has many years of experience in different clinical settings including 10 years of Private Practice and Urgent Care in Munich, Germany as well as 11 years of Internal Medicine/Geriatrics in Arizona as well as 4 years at the Santa Barbara County Health Care Center. Dr. Ansorg has served as Public Health Officer for Santa Barbara County since April 2019.