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Why Young Adults Are the Most Frightened of COVID, Even Though They Are the Least at Risk

Nearly half of Americans between 18 and 34 are concerned about returning to a normal social life after the pandemic, a new YouGov poll found.

Nearly 3 million Americans are being vaccinated against COVID-19 each day, but the “return to normal” may not be as close as many hope.

A new survey shows many Americans have concerns about interacting with others once the pandemic is over.

“A YouGov poll of more than 4,000 people finds that two in five (39%) Americans say they are very or fairly nervous about the idea of interacting with people socially again,” writes YouGov data journalist Jamie Ballard.

While the high percentage of Americans expressing angst about socializing after the pandemic comes as a surprise, the breakdown along age groups is even more surprising.

“Among 18-to 24-year-olds, 50% say they are nervous about it. A similar number of 25-to 34-year-olds (47%) feel the same way,” Ballard writes

In other words, nearly half of Americans between 18 and 34 are concerned about returning to a normal social life after the pandemic. In contrast, just 31 percent of those over 55 responded that they are nervous about interacting with people again.

The contrast is noteworthy because it’s widely understood that young people are far less likely to be hospitalized or die from COVID. But how less likely?

Our World in Data has a chart breaking down the case fatality rates in South Korea, China, Italy, and Spain. The data show the case fatality rate is about 0.2 percent for people in their 20s and 30s, a tiny fraction compared to people over 60.

Data from the US tell a similar story.

“The death rate in New York City for adults aged 75 years and older was around 2,344 per 100,000 people as of March 28, 2021,” researcher John Elflein notes at Statista.

That is about 500 times higher than the death rate (5 per 100,000) for people in the 18-24 age range.

Nationwide, research from the Heritage Foundation shows that adults aged 25-34 account for less than three thousand of the official 565,000 COVID-related deaths in the US. (Many of these deaths, it should be noted, are linked to comorbidities.)

This data should come as no surprise. Nearly a year ago, Stanford University’s Dr. John Ioannidis noted COVID’s infection fatality rate is “almost zero” for people under 45.