Speed Reads

the coronavirus crisis

Nearly half of U.S. coronavirus patients in intensive care are under 65, CDC reports

Older Americans are still at greater risk of death from the new COVID-19 coronavirus, but 38 percent of the U.S. patients known to have been hospitalized for COVID-19 were between age 20 and 54, and nearly half of those admitted to the intensive care unit were adults under 65, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Wednesday. The report looked at 508 of the first 2,449 coronavirus patients in the U.S. The high rate of hospitalization for younger adults matches the statistics reported from France and Italy.

The report showed that adults of all ages are at risk of getting sick from the coronavirus — of the 2,449 patients examined, 6 percent were 85 and older, 25 percent were 65 to 84, 29 percent were 20 to 44, and 5 percent were 19 and younger, the CDC said. People 20 to 44 — the millennial generation — accounted for 20 percent of those hospitalized and 12 percent of ICU patients.

"I think everyone should be paying attention to this," Columbia University epidemiologist Stephen S. Morse tells The New York Times. "It's not just going to be the elderly. There will be people age 20 and up. They do have to be careful, even if they think that they're young and healthy." And it's not just the health of younger people that has experts worried, adds Dr. Christopher Carlsten, the head of respiratory medicine at the University of British Columbia. "If that many younger people are being hospitalized, that means that there are a lot of young people in the community that are walking around with the infection," putting older and sicker people at risk.