WASHINGTON - The White House warned Wednesday that millennials may show a “disproportionate” number of positive coronavirus cases and emphasized reports coming from Europe that have shown young people at risk of becoming “seriously ill.”
“There are concerning reports coming out of France and Italy about some young people getting seriously ill in ICUs,” Dr. Deborah Birx, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, said during a press conference Wednesday.
“We think part of this is people heeded the early data coming out of China and coming out of South Korea that the elderly or those with preexisting medical conditions were at particular risk,” Birx said. “It may have been that the millennial generation, our largest generation, our future generation that will carry us through for the next multiple decades, there may be disproportional infections among that group.”
She added: “So, even if it is a rare occurrence, it may be seen more frequently in that group and be evident now.”
Birx went on to say that they have not yet seen “any significant mortality in children,” but said they are becoming increasingly “concerned about reports coming out of Italy and France.”
“We need [millennials] to be healthy,” she continued. “I’m not only calling on you to heed what’s in the guidance, but to make sure that each and every one of you are protecting each other.”
Birx added that millennials “cannot keep having these large gatherings that continue to occur throughout the country for people who are off work to then be socializing in large groups and spreading the virus.”
“You have the potential, then, to spread it to someone who does have a condition that none of us knew about and cause them to have a disastrous outcome,” Birx said.
Birx’s warnings came after multiple reports that Italy and France were seeing an influx of younger individuals falling seriously ill due to the COVID-19 infection.
Earlier Wednesday, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is also on the White House coronavirus task force, joined Barstool Sports’ popular “Pardon My Take” sports podcast, to explain how young people “need to protect” the vulnerable.
“The younger individuals, people who are the millennials, people who are otherwise young and healthy, generally, with some exceptions, you’re not completely exempt from risk,” Fauci said on the podcast Wednesday.
“The problem is, we need the young people to help us to protect the vulnerable because, when an individual who is young gets infected, and either has no symptoms at all, or even mild symptoms, that individual will continue the virus spreading in the community,” Fauci said. “You might inadvertently, even though you feel that you are invulnerable… even if you are doing very well, you have to be a very important part of our national effort to contain the outbreak."
Fauci said young people are not “passive” when it comes to slowing down coronavirus.
“You are an important part of the active plan to contain this epidemic,” Fauci said. “We really do need you, this isn’t something that can be successful without you.”
Meanwhile, Birx also warned Americans that new studies are revealing that the novel coronavirus could be transmitted via “hard surfaces,” as well as human to human, and even fabric transmission and reminded that staying home is the best prevention.
“This is all new science,” she said.
As of mid-day Wednesday, the U.S. currently had more than 7,300 confirmed cases of coronavirus in all 50 states, including Washington, D.C. The U.S., so far, has seen 115 COVID-19-related deaths.
The Trump administration’s coronavirus task force predicted Tuesday that the number of cases in the U.S. could peak in about 45 days.
Fox News' Brian Flood contributed to this report. Get updates on this story from FOX News.