Hospitals are seeing fewer Covid-19 patients but increasingly the ones who do land in the hospital are 50 or younger, according to national data.
With older Americans vaccinated at higher rates, health officials and epidemiologists said they aren’t surprised that more hospital beds are being filled with younger patients.
But some are concerned about the potential stumbling blocks the trend poses. They worry that stagnating vaccination rates among younger Americans could persist and delay the pandemic’s end. Others are concerned that new, more transmissible and possibly deadlier coronavirus variants are contributing factors sending more younger people into hospitals.
“The trend toward younger adults getting sick and hospitalized may be due to pandemic fatigue, young people thinking that because they are healthy that they don’t need to worry as much about the virus, and low vaccination numbers,” said Tim Pfarr, spokesman for the Washington State Hospital Association, thoughts echoed by medical professionals in other states. “We also believe variants are making younger people sicker.”
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At the start of this year, people aged 65 and older made up 53% of Covid-19 related hospitalizations, according to data from COVID-Net, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveillance system that draws data from numerous states, representing roughly 10% of the population. Those between the ages of 18 and 49 made up 20.5%, while patients in the 50-to-64 age group were 25.3% of hospitalizations.
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