COVID-19 hospitalizations for people in their 30s have reached a record high in the U.S. in the latest evidence that the dangerous delta variant of the disease poses formidable risks for younger age groups.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a total of 170,852 hospital admissions of those age 30 to 39 from the beginning of August 2020 to last Wednesday. The number of daily admissions, based on a seven-day average, jumped from 908 the week beginning July 29 to 1,113 the week starting Aug. 5. That’s a 22.6% bounce — and still climbing.
Hospitalizations for children suffering from COVID also hit a record high with 1,902 in hospitals across the nation on Saturday, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services, Reuters reported. Children currently account for about 2.4% of all COVID hospitalizations in the U.S.
Not only are more children being affected in this wave of the disease, but they’re experiencing more serious symptoms, according to several reports. Children under 12 aren’t yet eligible for vaccinations, making them more vulnerable to the illness.
“This is not last year’s COVID. This one is worse and our children are the ones that are going to be affected by it the most,” said Sally Goza, former president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Despite the terrifying new risk to children a number of Republican governors and state legislatures are banning mask mandates at schools, and refusing to promote vaccinations to the adults who surround them.
The new, clearly susceptible age groups represent a major change from the first wave of the pandemic, when the elderly were by far the hardest hit by COVID. That may have given those in their 30s a false sense of security and a relaxed attitude about safety precautions like wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.
The delta variant “loves social mobility,” Dr. James Fiorica, chief medical officer of Florida’s Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, told The Wall Street Journal. “An unvaccinated 30 year old can be a perfect carrier.”
Younger age groups also have lower vaccination rates. According to CDC statistics, just under half (49.9%) of those 20 to 39 have been fully vaccinated. It’s 59.1% for those in their 40s, 68.4% for those 50 to 64 years old, 82.6% for the 65 to 74 age range, and 78.3% for those 75 and older.
States with low vaccination rates have been particularly hard hit in the current wave. A fifth of all the nation’s COVID-19 hospitalizations are in Florida, where the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients hit yet another record of 16,100 on Saturday, according to a Reuters tally. More than 90% of the state’s intensive care beds are filled, according to HHS.
New infections in the nation are surpassing 123,000 each day, based on a seven-day average, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The seven-day average of daily COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. reached 645 on Friday, almost doubling in two weeks to hit the highest point since May, Bloomberg reported.