What we know now about COVID-19 infection, mortality rates

coronavirus testing at Tulane University
Workers prepare for coronavirus testing at the molecular pathology lab at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans.
Gerald Herbert | AP Photo file

In recent weeks, there’s been a demographic shift in those contracting COVID-19 in the United States. Several states, including Arizona, Wisconsin and Colorado, have reported an increase in young adults testing positive for the virus. 

Minnesota’s part of that group, too. The age group with the largest number of confirmed cases currently is people in their 20s.

Possible reasons behind this spike include increased access to testing compared to earlier in the pandemic. However, some public health experts told NPR that young adults are underestimating their risk and are then more likely to attend social events or go to restaurants or bars.

Meanwhile, health officials continue to learn more about not just the number of infections, but also who may be at a higher risk for more serious outcomes and death.

On Monday at 9 a.m., MPR News host Kerri Miller spoke with two medical professionals about the latest news on the spread of infection, the country’s death rate and social distancing practices such as wearing masks.


  • Dr. William Schaffner is a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University.

    Kumi Smith is an assistant professor in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health at the University of Minnesota.

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.

Subscribe to the MPR News with Kerri Miller podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts , Spotify or RSS

MPR News is Reader Funded

Before you keep reading, take a moment to donate to MPR News. Your financial support ensures that factual and trusted news and context remain accessible to all.