Younger people driving new COVID-19 infections, may cause fourth wave in Washington

SPOKANE, Wash. — Vaccines are the only answer to getting out of this pandemic.

But vaccinations may not be happening fast enough to avoid yet another COVID-19 surge; a surge of infections driven by younger people.

About 56 percent of Spokane County’s newly reported cases in the last two weeks come from people younger than 40.

“The most important thing I can say to young people and all people is every single choice we make, every single thing we do adds up and matters,” Lacy Fehrenbach of the Washington Department of Health said.

The good news is more than 60 percent of seniors in Washington are vaccinated now, so the virus is getting under control among those most vulnerable.

But, younger people are getting infected and ending up in the hospital, all while putting counties in Washington at risk of moving back to Phase 2 next week.

“There’s a decent likelihood a handful will be moved back on Monday when we announce,” Fehrenbach said.

040621 Staying Phase 3 Full2We don’t know yet if that includes Spokane.

The county is just barely meeting all three metrics needed to stay in Phase 3.

 

But after a week of Easter and March Madness celebrations, the county’s case rate and hospital rate could get too high by April 12.

In the meantime, experts are focused on those variants, specifically the UK variant, which is spreading quickly among younger people in parts of the U.S.

“We’re concerned about it, we’re cautious about it,” Dr. Scott Lindquist of the DOH said. “We’re not seeing these big trends in kids right now in Washington state, but we are all over it.”