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Patients in Their 30s Set Hospitalization Record

Delta and low vaccination rates are to blame, experts say
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 15, 2021 12:40 PM CDT
More Patients in Their 30s Need Hospitalization for COVID
Cedric Daniels, 37, of Gonzales, La., rests in his room at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge earlier this month. Daniels said he regretted deciding against being vaccinated for the coronavirus.   (AP Photo/Ted Jackson)

(Newser) – Never have so many COVID-19 patients in their 30s been hospitalized in the US. The relative good health of that age group had shielded it early in the pandemic, the Wall Street Journal reports, but the delta variant of the coronavirus has changed that. Government data show COVID patients age 30 to 39 are being admitted to hospitals at a rate of about 2.5 per 100,000 people as of last week. The high point had been 2 per 100,000, reached in early January. There's no doubt about the reason for the change, health officials said. "It means delta is really bad," said an infectious-disease physician. The figures came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services.

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Delta is hitting the unvaccinated hard, even young adults; they're often active socially and in the workplace. "It loves social mobility," said a Florida doctor. "An unvaccinated 30-year-old can be a perfect carrier." The trend illustrates the need for adults with young children, especially, to be vaccinated, experts said. Patients in their 30s are arriving at hospitals more seriously ill than such patients typically were earlier in the pandemic, per the Journal. An Arkansas doctor said they're being checked daily for signs of organ failure, which wasn't needed before, when "this age group pretty much went unscathed." At a Florida hospital, one-third of the COVID-19 patients in their 30s it's treated during the pandemic have been admitted since June, when delta began to be felt. “They are people that shouldn’t be dying," a doctor there said. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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