March 20, 2020
It appears that the best protection against Corona is being a kid.
American adults of all ages — not just those in their 70s, 80s and 90s — are being seriously sickened by the coronavirus, according to a report on nearly 2,500 of the first recorded cases in the United States.
The report, issued Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that — as in other countries — the oldest patients had the greatest likelihood of dying and of being hospitalized. But of the 508 patients known to have been hospitalized, 38 percent were notably younger — between 20 and 54. And nearly half of the 121 patients who were admitted to intensive care units were adults under 65, the C.D.C. reported.
“I think everyone should be paying attention to this,” said Stephen S. Morse, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. “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.”
The findings served to underscore an appeal issued Wednesday at a White House briefing by Dr. Deborah Birx, a physician and State Department official who is a leader of the administration’s coronavirus task force. Citing similar reports of young adults in Italy and in France being hospitalized and needing intensive care, Dr. Birx implored the millennial generation to stop socializing in groups and to take care to protect themselves and others.
“You have the potential then to spread it to someone who does have a condition that none of us knew about, and cause them to have a disastrous outcome,” Dr. Birx said, addressing young people.
In the C.D.C. report, 20 percent of the hospitalized patients and 12 percent of the intensive care patients were between the ages of 20 and 44, basically spanning the millennial generation.
“Younger people may feel more confident about their ability to withstand a virus like this,” said Dr. Christopher Carlsten, head of respiratory medicine at the University of British Columbia. But, he said, “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.”
The risk of a patient requiring hospitalization or dying of the infection caused by the coronavirus increased with age, as has been the pattern in other countries.
The report included no information about whether patients of any age had underlying risk factors, such as a chronic illness or a compromised immune system. So, it is impossible to determine whether the younger patients who were hospitalized were more susceptible to serious infection than most others in their age group.
The youngest age group, people 19 and under, accounted for less than 1 percent of the hospitalizations, and none of the I.C.U. admissions or deaths. This dovetails with data from other countries so far. This week, however, the largest study to date of pediatric cases in China found that a small segment of very young children may need hospitalization for very serious symptoms, and that one 14-year-old boy in China died from the virus.
Experts have already warned that younger people were dying.
Elderly people are the most at-risk of developing severe coronavirus, but experts warn young, healthy people are still dying from the respiratory infection.
Globally, more than 200,000 people in around 170 countries have been infected with COVID-19 since the outbreak began in China in December.
Most of the 8,000 fatalities recorded across the world have been people who are elderly or suffer underlying conditions, and have weakened immune systems.
But Bruce Aylward, who assessed the pandemic in China, said there are an alarming number of young people who have developed complications from the disease.
Dr Aylward, of the World Health Organization, has already warned people as young as 30 were dying from the life-threatening virus.
Meanwhile, an emergency doctor in Belgium has revealed the shocking lung scans of ‘young, healthy people’, which he described as ‘nothing short of terrifying’.
Chinese health officials carried out the biggest ever study on the never-before-seen strain of the virus, using data from 72,000 cases. They found 19 per cent of patients who died were below the age of 60 years.
‘I would emphasise that there were a lot of people in their 30s, 40s, 50s, who were dying as well,’ Dr Aylward said at a conference earlier this month.
‘People who did have co-morbid conditions had a much higher ratio of dying from the disease, but in most people there were no other predictors, apart from age, that they could die.’
Your best bet right now, if you’re not a kid, is to hide in a nuclear bunker for about two years.
Your next best bet is to become a mountain hermit.
But there aren’t enough nuclear bunkers and mountains for everyone.
People will die.
We should all be praying to come out on top though.