1 in 5 Americans Hospitalized with COVID-19 Are Young Adults, CDC Study Finds

By Perry, Susan | MinnPost.com, March 19, 2020 | Go to article overview

1 in 5 Americans Hospitalized with COVID-19 Are Young Adults, CDC Study Finds


Perry, Susan, MinnPost.com


Although older people are at greatest risk of dying from the coronavirus (COVID-19), younger adults make up a significant proportion of coronavirus-related hospitalizations in the United States, according to a report released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

CDC researchers looked at the 4,226 COVID-19 cases that were confirmed in the U.S. between Feb. 12 and March 16. Of the 2,449 cases in which the patient’s age was known (some patient data is not yet complete), they found that one in five of the hospitalized patients — and one in eight of those who required intensive care — were between the ages of 20 and 44.

This finding underscores the warning that public health officials have been giving millennials in recent days: Don’t be complacent about your coronavirus risk.

On Wednesday — before the CDC released its new report — Dr. Deborah Birx, a member of the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force, noted that “there are concerning reports coming out of France and Italy about some young people getting seriously ill, and very seriously ill in the ICUs.”

And because millennials have taken fewer precautions than other age groups, they now have “a disproportionate number of infections,” she added.

What the numbers show

Here are the key findings from the CDC report:

* Younger adults are contracting COVID-19 at about the same rates as those who are older. Of the 2,449 cases analyzed, 29 percent were among people aged 20 to 44 years. By comparison, 25 percent of the cases were among people aged 65 to 84 years and 6 percent among those aged 85 and older.

* A significant percentage of people hospitalized in the U.S. for COVID-19 have been younger adults. Of the 508 hospitalized patients identified in the study, 20 percent were aged 20 to 44. By comparison, 36 percent were aged 65 to 84 years, and 9 percent were aged 85 and older.

* Young adults are taking up more ICU beds than the very old. Of the 121 patients in the study admitted to an ICU, 12 percent were between the ages of 20 and 44 compared to 7 percent who were 85 and older. The people most likely to receive ICU care, however, were between the ages of 65 and 84. They made up 46 percent of the cases. The percentages of COVID-19 patients who end up in ICU were lowest, however, among those aged 20 to 44 (2 percent to 4 percent) and highest among those aged 75 to 84 (11 percent to 31 percent). …

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