18-24 Yr-Olds Have The Nation's Highest New Covid Case Rate

by Kristina Johnson
Education Images/Getty

Young people have some of the highest Covid-19 rates and the lowest vaccination rates — it’s almost like there’s some connection here

It’s hard to imagine that just a few months ago, people were literally trying to buy Covid-19 vaccines on the black market. These days, we can barely give them away. Even though we’ve basically turned vaccine sites into adult Chuck E. Cheese’s with the number of prizes on offer — everything from cold hard cash to college scholarships to free tickets to cool venues — the number of people getting vaccinated is now dwindling. That’s especially true for young adults, and it’s likely why they now make up the majority of new cases.

The Grannies, Nanas, Grand-dads, and Pop Pops of America have more than done their part to turn back the pandemic, lining up for vaccines like they’re an Early Bird Special at Denny’s. More than 90 percent of people 65 and older have gotten at least one vaccine dose. That’s amazing, especially when you consider the number of those people that probably needed a grandchild to help them turn on the computer to book the shots in the first place.

Among 18 to 24-year-olds, however, the number is drastically lower at just about 40 percent fully vaccinated. The same age group also makes up about 40 percent of new Covid cases, which, I mean, come on, the connection is RIGHT THERE. I can’t say I’m shocked that the generation that made “spit in my mouth” the ultimate expression of attraction isn’t super worried about viruses and germs, but the nonchalant approach is having serious repercussions.

CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky says the country is now facing “a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” with cases, hospitalizations, and deaths all spiking over the past week. Almost every patient being admitted to the hospital or dying of Covid-19 these days is unvaccinated.

The White House is even calling in the Gen Z big guns by inviting pop star Olivia Rodrigo to appeal to the youths and get the message out about the vaccine. “It doesn’t matter if you’re young and healthy, getting the vaccine is about protecting yourself, your friends and your family. Let’s get vaccinated!” she pleads.

Whether it’s due to obliviousness, vaccine hesitancy, or just needing their moms to call and make the appointments for them (my guess is it’s a lot the latter, honestly), the gap in the number of young people getting the shots is a serious one. If there’s one silver lining to the problem, however, it could be this: White House officials say that in areas where cases are rising the fastest, people are finally signing up to get vaccinated.

If there’s one thing we all should have learned by now, 84 years into the pandemic (or maybe 17 months, who even knows anymore? Time has become meaningless), it’s that Covid-19 does not care if you’re taking advantage of the senior discount or the student discount — every age group is at risk. If you have an 18 to 24-year-old in your life, you might want to remind them that the vaccine could save their life (and maybe also mention that we cannot bring back low-rise jeans).