Dr. Deborah Birx, a State Department official on President Trump's coronavirus task force, on Wednesday issued a warning to young adults to stop gathering in groups—not only because they could unknowingly spread the virus to older, more vulnerable people, but because they themselves may be more at risk than they think. New data from the Centers for Disease Control backs that last part up, showing that, among 508 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 in the US, 38% were between the ages of 20 and 54. Plus, almost half of the 121 patients admitted to ICUs across the country were adults younger than 65, the agency says. "I think everyone should be paying attention to this," a Columbia University epidemiology professor tells the New York Times. "It's not just going to be the elderly."
Birx herself mentioned at the White House presser that reports coming out of France and Italy were "concerning," noting "some young people [are] getting seriously ill and very seriously ill in the ICUs," per the Hill. The CDC report acknowledges that the risk of being hospitalized with COVID-19 and/or dying from it increases with age, and it concedes there were limitations to the report's findings, including the fact that there was missing data on factors like underlying health conditions. Still, the fact that younger adults are also getting hit hard is a worry, even if they survive the illness. "Yes, maybe you don't die, but living with a damaged lung or damaged organ is not a good outcome," a physician with the Mount Sinai Health System tells the Hill. (Read more coronavirus stories.)