Health experts explain why younger people are now being hospitalized more often due to COVID-19

Published: Apr. 12, 2021 at 6:47 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The U.S. has seen a rising number of COVID-19 cases in more than 30 states. But, there seems to be a change in who is ending up in the hospital.

The director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said hospital visits are now increasing among young people.

Until the end of March, the elderly were hospitalized more than any other age group. Now, the Centers for Disease Control reports young adults are showing up at the emergency department, and are admitted to the hospital more than any other group. Hospitalizations are increasing for people ages 18 to 64.

Doctors say things like vaccinations, a new variant, and lifestyle play a part.

“We are seeing a significant protective effect in the elderly population. When that happens, the virus, of course, will look for susceptible hosts. And the susceptible hosts remain the younger population,” said Sanford Health Infectious Disease Consultant Dr. Noe Mateo.

The UK coronavirus variant is not only more contagious, but doesn’t seem to discriminate according to age.

“The most troubling aspect of that isolate is that it actually has a greater impact on younger age groups. We’re talking about in the 20 to 50 age range,” said Dr. Mateo.

Doctors say it could also be because younger folks are fed up with health safety precautions and are typically more active.

“Younger people tend to be more mobile, a lot more free-wheeling and capable of traveling. If they do so without necessarily adhering to public health advice, then they could be the vectors where viruses can travel,” said Dr. Mateo.

Health officials are now worried about a fourth wave fueled by a younger generation.

“We are not out of this yet. We had 80k new infections the other day. Now’s not the time to declare victory prematurely,” said Chief Medical Adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci.

The good news: nearly half of adults in our country have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. And, that number is rising every day. Pfizer announced Wednesday its vaccine is safe and strongly protective in kids as young as 12.

As of now, the vaccine is authorized and available for people ages 16 and older.

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