Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez speaks out on the need for social distancing.
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More than two dozen students from the University of Texas who chartered a plane to Mexico for spring break are now infected with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
The City of Austin, Texas, announced the news on Tuesday, saying of the 70 students who chartered the plane to Cabo San Lucas about a week and a half ago, at least 28 of them have tested positive for COVID-19. Dozens more are under public health investigation. At least four of the confirmed cases were asymptomatic, said officials.
Austin health officials, as well as those with UT Health Austin and University Health Services, have been in contact with every spring breaker who was a part of the group, some of whom took commercial flights back home. The 28 who tested positive are now self-isolating, while “others are under quarantine while being monitored and tested,” according to the news release.
“While Mexico at the time of their travel was not under a federal travel advisory, Austin-Travis County residents should follow CDC’s travel recommendations indicating travelers avoid all non-essential international travel,” officials warned, adding, “A leisure vacation of any kind is not considered essential.”
“The virus often hides in the healthy and is given to those who are at grave risk of being hospitalized or dying,“ said Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott, in a statement. “While younger people have less risk for complications, they are not immune [to] severe illness and death from COVID-19.”
Almost half of all the positive COVID-19 cases in the Austin-Travis County area have occurred in those between the ages of 20 and 40, according to county data.
Health experts have continued to stress that everyone is at risk for contracting the novel virus — including children and young adults. Minors in major cities, including hard-hit New York City and Los Angeles, have died as a result of the coronavirus. And while epidemiologists and infectious disease experts still broadly assume that young people generally experience relatively benign cases of coronavirus than older people, youth are often the silent and potentially lethal transmitters of the virus — hence why social-distancing measures should be taken seriously, especially by the young, experts say.
But the now out-dated notion that young people are virtually resistant to severe symptoms meant that many failed to change their lifestyles and, at least initially, to engage in social distancing measures to curb the spread. The students from the University of Texas are not alone: in recent weeks, scores have continued to travel and group together in Florida for spring break. And in states like Kentucky, youth held “coronavirus parties,” only to learn days later to that attendees were falling sick from the disease.
“It is a misconception that children can’t get critically ill. Children are getting sick, but they’re not getting as severe cases,” Dr. John Whyte, Chief Medical Officer at WebMD, previously told Fox News. “The highest rate of severe cases and deaths remains the elderly. But what we are learning is that everyone is at risk.”
Fox News’ Hollie McKay contributed to this report.