COVID-19: Why more Aussie women in 20s are at risk

 

The most infected coronavirus cohort in Australia are women aged in their twenties, according to statistics from the federal Health Department - because they won't stay home.

And a key reason appears to be because they are more socially active than most other demographic groups.

Melbourne University professorial fellow John Mathews said women in this age group were also known to be likely to travel overseas - a key risk factor for COVID-19.

 

People on Cronulla beach last month ignoring the governments new distancing laws. Picture: Matrix
People on Cronulla beach last month ignoring the governments new distancing laws. Picture: Matrix

''As you grow up the innate ­immunity gets lost and that helps explain why older people don't fight the virus off as easily,'' Professor Mathews told The Australian. ''And why they're more likely to get sick from it.

''And, of course, the other factor in the 20-to-29-year-old age group is it's the age group where people are most socially active.

''And the next age bracket, they are more likely to have kids.''

Authorities have expressed concern about young people continuing to gather for social get-togethers, especially after photos showed people flocking to Bondi Beach and Cronulla in Sydney.

Authorities are worried that young Australians aren’t taking social distancing guidelines seriously. Picture: Matrix
Authorities are worried that young Australians aren’t taking social distancing guidelines seriously. Picture: Matrix

The data shows that 452 women aged between 20 and 29 had been infected.

They make up well over half of the 821 cases in that age group, defying any assumptions that young men would lead the way in the data, The Australian reports.

The role of young women in the statistics is the standout detail among the notifiable disease data but in the 60-to-64 age bracket there also are a large number of women - 198 - and the total for that age group is high at 377 cases. Australians in their 60s are also known to travel extensively, potentially explaining the high numbers.

 

Bondi Beach is closed, but tourists continued to gather on the grass nearby on Tuesday. Picture: AAP
Bondi Beach is closed, but tourists continued to gather on the grass nearby on Tuesday. Picture: AAP

A NSW Health spokeswoman said in that state the cumulative number of cases in women and men in the 20-to-29 age group was higher than in other age and sex groups.

''Overseas travel is the most significant COVID-19 risk factor to consider,'' she said.

''We know that people in the 20-to-29-year age group are more likely to travel overseas than most other age groups, and so we would expect them to be over-repres­ented in our case numbers.

''We do not have specific information to say that people in this age group are more or less likely to follow public health advice than other age groups, but they have been one of our key target groups in our social media messaging.''

The data showed 14 children aged up to four years with the virus, rising to 84 cases for 15-to-19-year-olds.

Tourists ignored the shutdown of non-essential services in effect Australia. Picture: AAP
Tourists ignored the shutdown of non-essential services in effect Australia. Picture: AAP

The numbers then explode as the next group of young Australians travel and socialise before reaching the child-rearing years.

The death rates for young people are markedly lower than those for old Australians, who are significantly over-represented in the death toll.

This is because as people get older their immune systems work less efficiently and they also develop other conditions such as heart and respiratory problems.

State governments across Australia are struggling with how to stop young adults socialising in large numbers.

 

A group doing yoga near Bondi Beach. Picture: AAP
A group doing yoga near Bondi Beach. Picture: AAP

Police have been given increased powers to limit public and even private gatherings.

Governments are still considering whether to go into phase four of the lockdown process and will respond depending on whether community transmission of the virus reaches unacceptable levels.

Originally published as COVID-19: Why more Aussie women in 20s are at risk


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