Are 20-49-year-olds to Blame For COVID-19 Spread?

20-49-year-olds blamed for COVID-19 spread
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According to a study published in Science, 20–49-year-olds are the most responsible for COVID-19 spread and resurgences.

Countries across the world are busy carrying out mass vaccination programs; mostly aimed at healthcare workers and older adults. However, based on the findings of a recent study, researchers believe there is a need to focus these vaccination efforts on a different age group. Specifically, those aged 20 to 49 years of age. The study, conducted by researchers at Imperial College London, showed that adults between 20 to 49 years accounted for most COVID-19 cases and resurgences. Thus, blaming them for the spread of COVID-19.

This work is a big step in understanding how age affects the dynamics of COVID-19 epidemics. We would like to thank in particular all epidemiologists at state Departments of Health who work tirelessly to update data on the evolving COVID19 epidemics. Without this effort, this study would not have been possible.

Dr. Samir Bhatt, School of Public Health

Using cellphone data, the researchers compiled national-level mobility data from over 10 million people across the US. They then linked this to age-specific COVID-19 mortality data. Additionally, the study also accounted for the shift in COVID-19 spread after the re-opening of schools. The results of the study are published in the journal Science.

Most Vulnerable, But Less Likely

The report revealed that out of 100 COVID-19 cases, 65 originated from those aged between 20 to 49 years. After the re-opening of schools, this age group caused over 72% of infections. Whereas children aged 0 till 9 years only accounted for 2.7% of the cases. And only 7.1% of cases were caused by teenagers. Moreover, older adults contributed less to the spread of infection despite being the most vulnerable age group.

In conclusion, 20-49 years age group is most likely to spread COVID-19 and cause the resurgence of cases. Moreover, they advise stronger preventive measures; such as, wearing masks, social distancing and washing hands among the age group.

Researchers predict that the re-opening of schools in areas with a high transmission will cause a rise in cases and deaths. As the transmission will likely increase among school-going children and ultimately among other age groups. Therefore, suggesting vaccinating individuals aged 20-49 years to prevent deaths and contain the pandemic


Monod, Mélodie, et al. “Age Groups That Sustain Resurging COVID-19 Epidemics in the United States.” Science, 2021, doi:10.1126/science.abe8372.


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