Young adults are driving the largest chunk of growth in COVID-19 positive test rates amid a statewide uptick in transmission, Gov. Charlie Baker said Tuesday, prompting the administration to renew its warnings against large gatherings and other unregulated social activity.
Residents between the ages of 19 and 39 represent the "vast majority of the increase in positive tests" in Massachusetts and around the country, Baker said.
As state and local officials ramp up enforcement of public health protocols, Baker said most of the recent growth in infections has come not from dining or other public activities, but from "informal events and social gatherings."
"Those are the places and spaces where, if people are asymptomatic, they will give it to somebody else if neither of them are wearing a mask and they're engaged in close contact over an extended period of time," Baker said. "That's exactly what happens when people get together to have a house party or a backyard party or some other celebration -- the kinds of stuff we used to do, once upon a time, as a matter of course almost every weekend."
The state's COVID enforcement team in recent weeks has observed private parties bringing together dozens or hundreds of people -- often young -- in close quarters and with spotty use of masks, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders.
State police arrested an individual who was planning such an event after Revere officials got wind of a potential party via social media, Mayor Brian Arrigo said at a press conference alongside Baker and Sudders.
A state police spokesman, however, told the News Service that the individual was arrested on an outstanding warrant "unrelated to COVID" after police made contact to inform the person that the planned party would violate state COVID guidelines.