On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report on the changing age distribution in the U.S. in regards to COVID-19.
Early in the pandemic, the number of cases of COVID-19 was higher in older adults. But from June to August, that changed.
The CDC said that people ages 20 to 29 accounted for 20% of all cases and likely contributed to the spread of the virus.
It's now time to bring young people into the conversation.
From 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, youth and young adults are invited to join a live conversation on Facebook and Twitter called "Yes You Can."
At the forum, the Illinois Department of Public Health director Dr. Ngozi Ezike will answer questions and address COVID-19-related concerns about youth and young adults, according to the IDPH.
People ages 14 to 29 are also invited to take part in the "Yes You Can" face mask contest. Winners will be announced in November.
Also starting in November, the IDPH will feature the winning entries on its website and in various promotional and public service ads, the IDPH said.
To register for the forum and participate in the face mask design contest, visit dph.illinois.gov/yesucan.
In addition to the forum, it's important for the loved ones of youth and young adults to discuss the need for COVID-19 precautions.
Edward-Elmhurst Health said even young adults can develop severe infections that can cause severe complications and result in hospitalization, especially if they have conditions like asthma, obesity, immune disorders, diabetes, liver or heart conditions.
But even if young adults have mild illness, they can easily spread the virus to older adults and those with underlying health issues — who are at higher risk for serious complications from COVID-19, Edward-Elmhurst Health said.
Edward-Elmhurst Health offered some tips for introducing that conversation:
First, ask them how they feel about it so they know their voice is being heard.
Find out where they’re coming from and their perception of how others are dealing with the pandemic.
Be matter-of-fact and honest about the facts and risks, but keep it clear.
The more closely they interact with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.
Masks help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Indoor spaces are more risky than outdoor spaces since it can be more difficult to keep people apart, and there’s less ventilation inside.
Review the precautions they should take.
Remind young adults to wear a mask in public, when around new people and when social distancing measures aren’t possible.
Wash hands frequently.
Stay six feet away from anyone outside the household.
Quarantine if they don’t feel well.
Talk about how their actions impact others.
Remind them that by not wearing a mask and following precautions, they could expose a vulnerable person (including someone they love) to the virus.
Be a role model.
Wear a mask in public and social distance.
Try to keep a normal family routine, stay active together and limit news intake to reduce stress.
Encourage video calls to connect with friends and family.