Orange County’s top public health official warns younger coronavirus patients are a danger to at-risk community

Dr. Pino notes younger people may have better survival rate, but more likely to transmit virus

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County’s leading public health official is warning that as the average age of COVID-19 patients gets younger, they are more likely to transmit the virus.

“People are making the argument the people are younger and they perform better,” Dr. Raul Pino with the Florida Department of Health in Orange County said to Orange County’s economic task force Wednesday. “We are also alerted we are seeing trends in the data where we have multi-generational living. They are getting infected by younger people in the community.”

Florida public health officials reported a new record of 5,511 new coronavirus cases statewide Wednesday. Data shows 258 more people have been hospitalized as the state notes 43 new coronavirus-related deaths.

Pino added that Orange County is seeing a similar trend in COVID-19 deaths, saying those individuals weren’t that old.

“Someone who is 70, someone who is 67, is not that old anymore and those people are dying and they are dying in one or two days because they are symptomatic,” he explained.

Pino proceeded to explain though at-risk communities could be taking all the necessary precautions, it is important to note that they often live or are exposed to other loved ones who may align with the average age of those getting infected.

In Orange and Seminole counties, the average age of people testing positive is 32 years old. Gov. Ron DeSantis announced at Orlando Health Tuesday the median age of those testing positive in Florida in 35.

[RELATED: Coronavirus hospitalizations are not as severe as first reported, Gov. DeSantis says]

The governor told Floridians Tuesday though the number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations is on the rise, the cases aren’t as severe as fewer patients are on ventilators and seem to be younger and more likely to fight off the virus.

Todd Husty, Seminole County’s medical director, expressed it’s not just about having concern over the livelihood of the younger patients, but those they come into contact with.

“They give it to their friend, their friend gives it to their mom and dad and grandmother,” he said.

Husty echoed Pino’s observations saying it may be too soon to write off the new increase in infections as more harmless than when COVID-19 was initially reported in March.

“Every change takes a couple of weeks to see, so can we really make a decision that what we are seeing this time around, it’s not as bad? I don’t think you can make that determination yet‚ I think it’s a little early to tell that,” Husty said.

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