COVID Cases Rising in Massachusetts' Young People, Prompting Plea From Baker

Gov. Charlie Baker and health care experts are pleading with younger people not to let their guard down

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While hospitalizations in Massachusetts are down about 20% overall this month, active COVID case numbers rose for a third straight day Wednesday, then again Thursday.

The source of positive cases is shifting to "a different age demographic," Gov. Charlie Baker said Thursday: "people under the age of 30."

Baker and health care experts are pleading with younger people not to let their guard down.

The state's metrics are “certainly leveling and not leveling in a good way, because we’re leveling at a rate that’s higher than we would like to be at,” Tufts Medical Center epidemiologist Dr. Shira Doron said.

Massachusetts announced that it will be launching a homebound vaccination program on Monday, while $100 million in COVID relief aid will go to four hard-hit cities: Chelsea, Everett, Methuen and Randolph.

While the numbers are much lower than at the height of the pandemic, Doron said, they’re still not down to where they were last summer.

“We’re in this race between injections and infections, we’re in this place where, if we don’t go faster with our injections, our infections are going to rise,” she said.

Medical experts agree the vaccine is the key to drastically reducing spread – but those under 30 still aren’t eligible.

“It’s definitely tough because it’s not really fair. I feel like anybody should be able to get it, I don’t think that there should be any restrictions on it,” said Olivia Pastor of Worcester.

“I think once people my age, or people 30 and under, start getting it, I think the cases will go down again, but I just think people are trying to go back to a little bit of normalcy,” said Ryan Wardwell of Millbury.

In an update on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, Gov. Charlie Baker announces more doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine are coming to Massachusetts next week.

And some argue that, because that age group wasn’t prioritized, some people in it may not be taking the risk as seriously.

Worcester health care worker Akua Asante said, “Under 30 generally has less health problems, so they wouldn’t see it as as big of a risk.”

“A lot of young people don’t believe in this, they feel like they’re immune to it,” said Yvette Paredes of Worcester, “but they really should be getting the vaccine.”

While the under 30 group awaits its turn to be vaccinated, health experts say the onus remains on them to keep following masking and distancing guidelines.

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