Coronavirus Cases In Ages 5-24 Double Within A Month; Alabama Hits New Record Daily High


Alabama Department of Public Health

In the last month, Alabama saw the number of coronavirus cases double among 5 to 24-year-olds, according to data from the Alabama Department of Public Health. The state also recorded a new daily high of 1,129 cases between 10 a.m. Wednesday and 10 a.m. Thursday.

Experts warn that gatherings over the July 4th weekend could cause another surge in coronavirus cases if people don’t wear masks and use social distancing measures.

At a press conference Thursday, Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, UAB’s director of infectious diseases, said everyone should wear a mask, including younger people who tend to have milder cases and may not even realize they are sick.

“They’re not as likely to stay home,” Marrazzo said. “They may feel relatively okay like they can go out and do their usual thing. That puts them at great risk for serving as an intense focus of transmission in the community.”

Marrazzo said the number of new cases among younger people has increased since Memorial Day weekend. But she said that wasn’t unexpected after statewide restrictions were relaxed at the end of May. It can take up to five weeks to see accurate data of coronavirus transmission.

Marrazzo said Alabama can still change the upward trajectory of new coronavirus cases.

“If you are going to be close to someone, within six feet, just wear a mask. You can do it just for that brief encounter and then you can take it off,” Marrazzo said.

U.S. Senator Doug Jones of Alabama said it will take more than political leadership to normalize wearing masks.

“It’s so important that businesses, churches, everyone step up on this mask-wearing,” Jones said. “Let’s get everybody used to this and it not be such a political issue … such a social stigma issue. It’s just something that we do like buckling the seat belts when we get in a car.”

Both warn that if the number of new cases doesn’t decline, Alabama could see other measures like an emergency statewide mask order or another economic shutdown.

“Shutting down like we did in March and April was like doing a sprint,” Marrazzo said. “We are now in a marathon. This is not going to go away anytime soon, so we’ve got to figure out ways to work through this that do not cripple us – socially, economically, psychologically and emotionally.”

More Coronavirus Coverage

Legislative Wrap-Up: What Died And What Passed On The Final Day

Many bills made it out before Monday's deadline. But the lawmakers also expect a special session later this year.

Alabama Governor Signs Medical Marijuana Legislation

Lawmakers had a change of heart after decades of debate on the issue.

UAB Closes Three COVID-19 Mass Vaccination Sites While Alabama’s Vaccination Rate Remains Below 50%

UAB announced this week it's closing the majority of its public COVID-19 vaccination sites because of a decline in participation. Meanwhile, Alabama remains at the bottom nationally for the number of adults that have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

‘When Buses Were A-Comin’: Remembering The Freedom Riders 60 Years On

A group of young civil rights activists began their journey to the South to challenge segregation on interstate buses in May 1961. The riders were taunted and beaten by white mobs – and jailed. Participants of the movement share what their fight means now.

Using Pastors And Pints, Gulf States Try To Boost COVID Vaccination Rates In White Communities

Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama have the lowest vaccination rates nationally, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Health officials are considering creative incentives to get the numbers up from church events to possible beer giveaways.

As Demand Drops, Health Officials Look For Ways To Encourage Vaccinations

Health officials say at first they were focused on vaccinating elderly and at-risk people in Alabama. Now the focus is shifting to people who are skeptical or apathetic about the vaccine.

More Coronavirus Coverage