The age distribution of confirmed COVID-19 cases is important as we have a good idea that whilst all age groups are susceptible to catching the virus, being older is thought to be a risk factor in becoming very unwell with the virus and needing hospitalisation as a result.
The next figure shows the 10 year age-specific rates over time in West Sussex. You can change the area using the drop down menu on the figure. Each line is coloured by age (see the key on the right). If you hover over a line or dot, the rest of the lines will fade and information about the number of cases and the age-specific rate (a method of standardising populations for comparison) at a given date.
There are similar patterns in the age-specific rates over time across areas, with rates among those aged 80+ far above other groups early in the pandemic, followed by a dampening down of rates for all groups in the summer. Younger cohorts rapidly exceeded the growth in cases of other groups from September 2020 onwards (potentially due to education settings but also likely due to hospitality venues such as bars and restaurants reopening).
It should also be considered that changes have occurred partly as test capacity and eligibility increased. Over time, more people were tested who were not displaying symptoms and these asymptomatic cases (perhaps picked up through workplace testing, or as a result of contact tracing) tended to be younger. It is possible that wider testing earlier in the pandemic may have identified many more younger aged cases of COVID-19.
The next figure shows a more detailed view of younger age groups. Again, you can change the area using the menu