by Chuck Ross
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday released its first batch of data on coronavirus patients in the United States, showing that while older adults are more likely to experience severe problems with the virus, younger adults are also falling seriously ill.
Fifty-five percent of coronavirus hospitalizations were younger than 65, with 20% between 20 and 44 years, according to the CDC data. Twelve percent of ICU admissions have been for adults have been in that lower age bracket, the federal agency said.
The CDC collected the data from 2,449 patients who tested positive for coronavirus, or COVID-19, through March 16. As of Thursday, more than 9,400 Americans have tested positive for the virus. At least 150 have died, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.
The public messaging around coronavirus has been aimed at adults over 65, and those with underlying health conditions. People in those groups have been urged to stay away from crowds, and to stay at home if possible. But the CDC data suggests that younger people are also at risk of bad outcomes from infection.
“These preliminary data also demonstrate that severe illness leading to hospitalization, including ICU admission and death, can occur in adults of any age with COVID-19,” the CDC report stated.
Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator for the White House coronavirus task force, said Wednesday that health officials have seen higher-than-expected rates of serious illness for younger adults in Europe.
“There are concerning reports coming out of France and Italy about some young people getting seriously ill and very seriously ill in the ICUs,” Birx said at a press conference.
Overall, older Americans are still at much higher risk of winding up in the hospital and dying from coronavirus, the CDC data suggests.
“Similar to reports from other countries, this finding suggests that the risk for serious disease and death from COVID-19 is higher in older age groups,” the CDC report said.
The data shows that while adults 65 and older made up 31 percent of cases of coronavirus in the U.S., they accounted for 45 percent of hospitalizations, 53 percent of admissions to Intensive Care Units, and 80 percent of deaths.
The data shows that 1.8 percent of coronavirus cases ended in death, with mortality rates spiking for older age groups.
Just over 10 percent of patients 85 and older died, while 2.7 percent of cases between 65 and 74 resulted in death. For the 20-44 age range, just 0.1 percent of cases ended in death.
Children have largely been spared by coronavirus, with just 2.5% of patients 19 or younger ending up in the hospital. No children in that age range have gone into an ICU or died from coronavirus.
The CDC provided data only for patients whose ages were known. Many of the patients are still sick with COVID-19, so their ultimate outcomes are not reflected in the report.
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Chuck Ross is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.