People ride scooters through Alamo Plaza, and only some wear masks in summer 2020.
People ride scooters through Alamo Plaza, and only some wear masks in summer 2020. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

People age 20 to 49 continue to contract the coronavirus at higher levels than any other age group in Bexar County.

The same pattern is occurring across the United States, according to a study in the journal Science published this week.

The authors assert that 65% of infections originate from people aged 20-49 in the U.S. and claim that that group is primarily responsible for sustaining the pandemic, largely because they tend to be more mobile and are likely to have contacts above the age of 20. Their suggestion is to use mass vaccinations, if vaccines show the ability to reduce transmission, in these age groups to bring the pandemic under control.

In Bexar County that age segment represents 55% of cases thus far recorded. It’s also pretty likely that number is lower than what it would be if asymptomatic disease were easier to detect. By comparison, people aged 50 to 79 represented 26% of the cases.

But look at the mortality data, and there is a dramatic reversal in the numbers. Residents between the ages of 20 and 49 comprise 9.8% of the deaths while people in their 50s to 70s make up more than 62%.

If the vaccines show a preponderance of evidence that they help reduce transmissions and not just cut down serious illness, should younger adults be prioritized for vaccinations? Let us know.

There could be a third vaccine approved for emergency use in the U.S. as Johnson & Johnson is seeking the Food and Drug Administration’s authorization. The company’s one-dose vaccine was shown to be 66% effective in its global trial. By comparison, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s vaccines are more than 94% effective.

San Antonio Metropolitan Health District officials say the Alamodome mass vaccination site will focus on administering second doses, delayed by a digital hiccup at the state level, for the next two weeks and will transfer an allotment of first-dose vaccines to WellMed.

“We are still getting vaccine allocations from the state, but they’re being distributed differently than they were previously,” Metro Health’s Colleen Bridger said. “So we are working on trying to figure out if there’s a way to get some additional vaccine for the Alamodome hopefully the week of the 15th.”

Bridger said because people in phases 1A and 1B – frontline health workers, nursing home residents, adults 65 and older, and adults with chronic conditions – of the vaccine rollout encompass such a wide swath of the population (more than 1 million in Bexar County), the next phase of the rollout will not likely occur until late summer.

Here are the local coronavirus numbers as of 7 p.m. Thursday:

  • 178,662 total cases, 860 new cases
  • 2,186 deaths, five new deaths
  • 1,081 in hospital, 9% beds available
  • 374 patients in intensive care
  • 223 patients on ventilators, 49% ventilators available
  • 144,278 residents vaccinated (at least one dose)

JJ Velasquez was a columnist, former editor and reporter at the San Antonio Report.