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Here's Who's Most Likely to Give You COVID, Study Says

This age group is a coronavirus super-spreader in the U.S.

You're most likely to contract COVID-19 from someone aged 20 to 49. People in that age group are the biggest spreaders of coronavirus in the United States, British researchers have found. Scientists at Imperial College London analyzed cellphone data from more than 10 million people and found that 65 out of 100 infections were in people between 20 and 49. The researchers found that less than 5 percent were in children, and less than 10 percent were in teens. "We find adults aged 20-49 are a main driver of the COVID-19 epidemic in the United States and are the only age groups contributing disproportionally to onward spread, relative to their population size," said Dr. Melodie Monod, one of the study's authors. Read on to find out how to stay safe—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

The kids are not all right, because they might give you COVID-19

The researchers say their data might encourage more school reopenings. The study corroborates other research that has found that schools are not prime drivers of COVID-19 spread.

"While children and teens contribute more to COVID-19 spread since school closure mandates have been lifted in fall 2020, we find these dynamics have not changed substantially since school reopening," said Monod.

Additionally, the scientists say that targeting the 20-to-49 age group for COVID prevention could blunt the damage caused by mutations of the virus that have begun to entrench themselves in the U.S. 

"We believe this study is important because we demonstrate that adults aged 20-49 are the only age groups that have consistently sustained COVID-19 spread across the U.S., despite large variations in the scale and timing of local epidemics," said Dr. Oliver Ratmann, one of the study's authors.

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"Thus, at least where highly transmissible variants have not established, additional interventions targeting the 20-49 age group could bring resurgent epidemics under control and avert deaths," he added.

While COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have been dropping over the past few weeks, experts are worried about variants of the virus from the UK, Brazil and South Africa, which may be more transmissible and more deadly than the original strain of COVID-19. It's unclear how those new strains will respond to the COVID vaccine.

RELATED: 5 Sure Ways to Avoid COVID Now, According to a Doctor

How to survive this pandemic

As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID

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