Local COVID death rate low but could rise if spreads to older population

Published: Oct. 19, 2020 at 8:49 AM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Lucas County is back up in the COVID-19 red zone, meaning the virus is spreading quickly. It’s been reported for months that young people are making up the bulk of the new cases, but that may be changing.

The virus has been around long enough for researchers to recognize some trends. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published a Morbidity and Mortality report about hotspot counties and the ages of those contracting the virus.

The study shows that in counties identified as hotspots, the high rate of spread is nearly always driven by young people, aged 24 and below. But once the rate of spread becomes high enough for the county to be identified as a hotspot, then the older population starts to catch the virus.

Right now in Lucas County, young people have been the primary people testing positive for months, according to Toledo-Lucas County Health Commissioner Eric Zgodzinski. Now, cases are rising, and Zgodzinski says, we’re seeing more cases in the older population.

Right now the death rate is still relatively low compared to the peak back in May, but if older people start catching the virus again, that could change.

“Boy, it’s tough. If that’s a loved one and that’s someone you knew who passed away from COVID. It doesn’t matter if that’s one individual or ten individuals, it’s somebody that you knew, it really does make a difference,” says Zgodzinski.

The Health Department is still pleading with the public to wear masks, especially in private gatherings with close family and friends, which is where the spread is currently believed to be concentrated.

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