‘Healthy’ 19-year-old dies from COVID-19 after returning to college

October 1, 2020
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    A 19-year-old college student at Appalachian State University in North Carolina has died from COVID-19.

    Chad Dorrill, an alleged healthy young man, was living off-campus and taking all of his classes online, reported Today. Officials at the university report that the second-year student developed flu-like symptoms at the beginning of September.

    The student traveled to his family’s home to quarantine and eventually tested positive for COVID-19.

    When the doctor cleared him for not having the deadly virus, Dorrill was then allowed to return to his off-campus housing. However, the university said he developed complications and was picked up by his family and hospitalized.

    “Any loss of life is a tragedy, but the grief cuts especially deep as we mourn a young man who had so much life ahead,” University of North Carolina System President Peter Hans said in a news release. “I ache for the profound sadness that Chad Dorrill’s family is enduring right now. My heart goes out to the entire Appalachian State community.”

    Appalachian State Chancellor Sheri Everts wrote in a letter to students, “His family’s wishes are for the university to share a common call to action so our entire campus community recognizes the importance of following COVID-19 safety protocols and guidelines.”

    Everts urged students that college-age adults can become seriously ill from the coronavirus.

    While older adults accounted for the brunt of COVID-19 cases during the beginning of the pandemic, there has been an uptick of 20 and 30-year-olds becoming infected with the novel virus throughout the summer.

    A study further showed the impact younger adults are having in initiating new clusters of infection. Data from a contract tracing study in Japan found that about 50% of outbreaks of more than five people could be linked back to 20 to 40-year-old individuals. The research also indicated these outbreaks were started by young adults who attended bars, restaurants, gyms, and concerts.

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