COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
As confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in Boone County, data is showing well over half of the cases are in people under the age of 30 years old.
According to the Columbia/Boone County Health Department's COVID-19 dashboard, 59.5 percent of the total number of people with confirmed cases were 29 years old or younger on Sunday.
The 20-24-year-old age group accounts for most of those cases. Out of the total 758 cases reported as of Sunday, 204 were in that age group. That is about 27 percent of the total cases.
The second highest age group is 15-19-year-olds at 110 total cases or about 15 percent of the total cases. Next is the 25-29-year-old group, who account for about 10 percent, or 78 cases.
On Thursday, the Missouri Health Director Dr. Randall Williams pointed to young people ignoring social distancing for the dramatic increases in cases the state has seen.
"That explains the numbers we're seeing, it's community transmission of young people getting 6 or 7 people infected," Dr. Williams said.
He specifically mentioned Boone County, saying the spike in cases in the county has caused the state's number to go up more than usual.
"(Boone County health officials) are seeing situations where one person congregating, often recreationally, are infecting 8 people," Dr. Williams said.
He pleaded with young people to continue to practice social distancing, personal hygiene, and wearing a mask when it is difficult to social distance.
"As we open up, we are clearly seeing that people are not practicing social distancing, or using handwashing or using masks," Dr. Williams said.
"While we are thankful it's not our most vulnerable populations, our senior citizens, we also believe when that denominator increases, it has a great potential to increase the numerator, the number of people who get seriously ill, the people who die," Dr. Williams said. "So we are very concerned."
For businesses in downtown Columbia, staying open is critical at this point.
The Heidelberg restaurant and bar is located across the street from the University of Missouri's campus in Downtown Columbia. One of the Owners, Richard Walls, said the main concern with young people is making sure they take the guidance seriously.
"Hopefully everyone will start to develop good habits and it will become more standard procedure whereas earlier this summer people were just so excited to get out," Walls said. "Now, I think they are a little more cognizant of being safe."
He said another shut down could negatively impact their business.
"It's just a lot tougher to do business now and we are really counting on hopefully our customers feeling safe and coming out," Walls said. "We want everyone to feel comfortable going out and feel safe and confident in their ability to maintain their own safety and health."