Younger people hit hard as Orange County sets coronavirus record

Patrons dine at 2nd Floor on Main Street on Wednesday in Huntington Beach.
Patrons dine at 2nd Floor on Main Street on Wednesday in Huntington Beach.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

For the first time, Orange County residents reported more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day, with young people accounting for the bulk of new infections.

“With cases of COVID-19 in California increasing over the last six weeks, I ask the residents and visitors of Orange County to please wear a face covering when you are in a public place and unable to properly social distance, as well as following hygiene and social distancing guidance,” Supervisor Michelle Steel said in a statement.

“This is of the utmost importance to protect your health and the health of others, so that we can return back to normal as quickly as possible.”


The spike was due in part to reports from backlogged test results. The county reported 1,028 additional cases Monday, 1,013 of which were from specimens collected June 20 to July 3; the others were collected before June 19.

The entire state is continuing to see an increase in cases, which now top 271,000, according to the L.A. Times’ coronavirus tracker. The death toll, too, is increasing, with more than 6,400 deaths reported as of Monday.

The latest maps and charts on the spread of COVID-19 in Orange County, including cases, deaths, closures and restrictions.

Officials with the Orange County Health Care Agency reported no new deaths in their daily tracking but confirmed a 13.8% rate of positive results among the 4,157 tests reported Monday, compared with a statewide rate of 6.8%.

About 634 individuals were hospitalized with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, with 203 being treated in intensive care units, according to agency figures. Among all ICU beds in the county, about 41.6% are currently available to accept new patients.

Although older residents are still the most likely to die from COVID-19, young people continue to account for the bulk of new infections.

Out of the 17,882 cases recorded so far in Orange County, more than 40% of patients have been younger than 35, with those ages 25 to 34 accounting for more than 22% of all infections countywide.


The younger demographic of news coronavirus cases was noted Monday by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Newsom said the surge in coronavirus cases hitting California was due in part to younger people who might believe “they are invincible.”

Younger adults — Newsom called them “the young invincibles” — who are testing positive for the disease is a trend that has become apparent as the economy has reopened and working-age adults return to jobs and resume social gatherings.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday said the surge in coronavirus cases hitting California was due in part to younger people who might believe “they are invincible” but nonetheless are becoming sick from COVID-19.

July 6, 2020

“So a lot of these younger folks may be coming into hospitals, but with not as acute needs as what we were seeing in the past,” Newsom said. In L.A. County, working-age adults are making up an increasing share of the percentage of those who are hospitalized, while seniors are making up a declining share.

Some young people think “they are invincible but don’t feel it’s going to impact them and, if it does, it’s not a big burden.”

The same trend of younger adults increasingly infected with the coronavirus is being seen in L.A. County.


By July 4, almost 50% of new cases occurred among those 40 and younger, said Barbara Ferrer, the L.A. County director of public health. In early April, that age group made up only about 30% of new confirmed cases.

Adults ages 18 to 39 make up about one-third of L.A. County’s population.

Los Angeles County officials on Monday reported an additional 1,584 COVID-19 cases and 48 related deaths, raising the county’s death toll to more than 3,500.

This comes as the number of coronavirus infections continues to increase across the state. Amid the spike, California is monitoring additional counties for surges in cases and hospitalizations.