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COVID-19: Why Younger Coloradans Are Targets in Partying Crackdown

When Governor Jared Polis ordered the statewide closure of bars and clubs on June 30, then on July 21 imposed a temporary 10 p.m. last call for alcohol as part of his strategy to slow the spread of COVID-19, he cited concerns about the behavior of the under-thirty set. "Inebriation in public places is inconsistent with social distancing," he said, building on his dad-voiced warning to teens on July 9: "This is not the Summer of Party."

During his July 23 press conference about the pandemic, which earned him an appearance on MSNBC's The 11th Hour with Brian Williams last night, Polis added that "mobility data from bars and tracking and tracing and where people are getting it, and some national data" convinced him that the 10 p.m. last-call mandate would prevent even more COVID-19 cases.

Publicly released statistics about the novel coronavirus over recent months offer further insight into Polis's worries — but they also illustrate why a generation gap exists when it comes to the virus. Although hospitalizations among Coloradans older than nine but under thirty have more than doubled over the past eight weeks or so, fatalities are still extremely rare for those who haven't yet hit senior status. Of the more than 1,000 people who'd died of COVID-19 as of May 25, just 51 were under the age of fifty. Since then, only 24 people under the age of fifty have passed, for a total of 75 deaths in that demographic since the start of the pandemic.

We collected data on May 25 for our post about why so many younger Coloradans take COVID-19 less seriously than do their elders — and the juxtaposition of these figures with those from July 22, nearly two months later, speak volumes.

Here are the overall Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment statistics from those two dates, which offer a general sense of the disease's progress in the state.

Cases on May 25: 24,269
Cases on July 22: 41,698
Case increase: 17,429
Percentage increase: 71.82 percent

Hospitalizations on May 25: 4,128
Hospitalizations on July 22: 6,133
Hospitalizations increase: 2,005
Percentage increase: 48.57 percent

Counties with COVID-19 cases on May 25: 60
Counties with COVID-19 cases on July 22: 63
Counties increase: 3
Percentage increase: 5 percent

COVID-19 tests on May 25: 153,683
COVID-19 tests on July 22: 462,275
Testing increase: 308,592
Percentage increase: 200.79 percent

Deaths among cases on May 25: 1,333
Deaths among cases on July 22: 1,771
Deaths among cases increase: 438
Percentage increase: 32.85 percent

Deaths due to COVID-19 on May 25: 1,088
Deaths due to COVID-19 on July 22: 1,643
Deaths due to COVID-19 increase: 555
Percentage increase: 51.01 percent

No Coloradans under the age of ten have died from COVID-19 to date, and just three under the age of twenty have passed, one of them since May 25. Over the past two months, the number of deaths in the 20-29 demographic has gone from eight to eleven, and in the 30-39 bracket from eight to twelve. There's been a much bigger jump in the 40-49 group; sixteen people in this range have died since May 25, when the total was 33.

Hospitalizations are another story. Over the nearly two-month span, they're up 154.28 percent for those ten to nineteen, and 104.42 percent for twenty-somethings — all bad tidings for Polis, who continues to stress the importance of not overwhelming Colorado's intensive-care-unit capacity. (Hospitalizations have risen 58.3 percent for the 0-9 demo, 65.19 percent for those in their thirties, and 56.3 percent for folks in their forties.)

The percentage of overall cases affecting those under forty has also climbed — dramatically so, for the 10-19 and 20-29 groups. And none of these figures take into account the possibility that younger people who contracted COVID-19 but survived unknowingly transmitted it to people over age sixty who didn't.

All of which explains why buying a cocktail after 10 p.m. in Colorado just got a whole lot harder.

Here's a more detailed comparison of July 22 virus stats with those from May 25:

0-9
2.82 percent of cases (2.1 percent of cases on May 25)
0 deaths (0 deaths on May 25)
0.0 percent of deaths (0.0 percent of deaths on May 25)
57 hospitalized (36 hospitalized on May 25)
1,119 not hospitalized (474 not hospitalized on May 25)
4.85 percent hospitalized (7.06 percent hospitalized on May 25)

10-19
6.56 percent of cases (4.37 percent of cases on May 25)
3 deaths (2 deaths on May 25)
0.11 percent of deaths (0.15 percent of deaths on May 25)
89 hospitalized (35 hospitalized on May 25)
2,644 not hospitalized (1,024 not hospitalized on May 25)
3.25 percent hospitalized (3.30 percent hospitalized on May 25)

20-29
20.41 percent of cases (15.64 percent of cases on May 25)
11 deaths (8 deaths on May 25)
0.13 percent of deaths (0.60 percent of deaths on May 25)
370 hospitalized (181 hospitalized on May 25)
8,131 not hospitalized (3,607 not hospitalized on May 25)
4.35 percent hospitalized (4.77 percent hospitalized on May 25)

30-39
17.77 percent of cases (17.23 percent of cases on May 25)
12 deaths (8 deaths on May 25)
0.16 percent of deaths (0.60 percent of deaths on May 25)
560 hospitalized (339 hospitalized on May 25)
6,838 not hospitalized (3,335 not hospitalized on May 25)
7.56 percent hospitalized (8.11 percent hospitalized on May 25)

40-49
16.14 percent of cases (17.28 percent of cases on May 25)
49 deaths (33 deaths on May 25)
0.73 percent of deaths (2.48 percent of deaths on May 25)
794 hospitalized (508 hospitalized on May 25)
5,886 not hospitalized (3,653 not hospitalized on May 25)
11.80 percent hospitalized (12.11 percent hospitalized on May 25)

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