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'They will kill people': Doctor shares why younger people contracting COVID-19 is dangerous

New case rates in Tampa Bay are favoring younger people. That still presents a major public health risk.

TAMPA, Fla — In Tampa Bay, all six counties are seeing the younger population contract higher rates of COVID-19. 

It's a population that is less likely to die as the result of COVID-19 but can easily pass it on to those who are of higher risk. According to the Florida Department of Health, most of the state's cases are within the 25-34 age group.

"Now deaths continue to drop, which is great. But deaths is a very lagging indicator," said Dr. Charles Lockwood, the Dean of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. "You know for young people, yeah, they may not die. There's a very low mortality rate.

"But when young people get infected, they go home and they infect their parents."

The concern is the spread to vulnerable populations.

In Florida, the death rate of COVID-19 sits around 3.5 percent, "For every 100 people that you come into contact with, who catch the virus, 3 to 4 will die," Lockwood said. "Is that really something you want on your conscience?"

A key to stopping the spread among young people and beyond is adhering to safety guidelines.

"A lot more younger people are getting infected. And the reason they're getting infected, they're not wearing face coverings and they are not socially distancing," Lockwood said.

With cases on the rise, it's more important than ever to be safe.

"It's here, we can't make it go away. And if we do what we are supposed to do and exercise personal responsibility, we can get through the next nine months," Lockwood said. "We can get through the next nine months without paralyzing our economy, and with a minimal number of deaths."

RELATED: Nearly 4,000 new coronavirus cases reported in Florida

RELATED: Coronavirus in Florida: Where we stand with cases, deaths and hospitalizations

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