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Majority of COVID-19 confirmed patients in Georgia are younger adults, deaths linked to elderly

The average age of COVID-19 fatalities is 66.4 years old as of noon Monday, with 20 of the 25 victims having an underlying condition.

ATLANTA — Numbers from the Georgia Department of Public Health only tell part of the COVID-19 story in Georgia because of continued limited testing statewide, but currently, younger adults are testing positive more frequently than the elderly.

"Something to keep in mind, this is an infection that can occur at any age," said Dr. Jose Cordero with the University of Georgia College of Public Health. 

Cordero said data shows in China, COVID-19 cases occurred more frequently in people 60 years of age and older. 

He said he isn't surprised though to see data showing the virus attacking younger people more frequently in Georgia.

"Here in Georgia, we have people of all ages, so it isn't out of bounds to see this age distribution," Cordero said. 

As of noon Monday, 59 percent of the 772 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia were amongst people in the age range of 18-to-59-years-old, according to the state's public health department.

Thirty-six percent of the cases are from people 60 years of age and older. 

While younger adults are being diagnosed, more than the elderly - only 1 percent of patients right now are children. Cordero said this could be attributed to several factors.

"A low susceptibility, second is better health or, and also who is being tested and not," he said.

Testing remains limited in Georgia, with tests being reserved for those considered high-risk, or for those on the front lines fighting the virus. It is unlikely currently that a healthy child, with no symptoms, would be tested, but Cordero said they could still be carrying the virus. 

"You remember Zika that happened just a few years ago, 80 percent of those that were infected with Zika were asymptomatic, for COVID-19 we still don't know what that percentage will be," he said.

While the majority of the total confirmed cases are people in the age range of 18-to-59 years old, as of noon on Monday, 25 people in Georgia had died from COVID-19, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. 

Data from GaDPH showed that the average age of the victims was 66.4 years old and that 20 of them had an underlying condition. 

The state reported one death involved someone without any underlying conditions and it was not known if the four other victims had any condition before contracting COVID-19. 

"The testing, as far as the focus, looking at who may have coronavirus actually started with some nursing homes and the elderly and those with conditions so at this point it isn't surprising that most of the deaths are seen in that age group," Cordero said.

He expects that as the virus spreads and testing expands in Georgia, there will be deaths linked to non-elderly victims, but he isn't anticipating any drastic changes.

"Looking at what is happening in Spain or in Italy you see that deaths are occurring in all age groups, but you see they're more common in those that are elderly or have some kind of chronic condition," he said.

11Alive is focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus.  We want to keep you informed about the latest developments while ensuring that we deliver confirmed, factual information. 

We will track the most important coronavirus elements relating to Georgia on this page. Refresh often for new information. 

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