COVID-19: Hospitalization rate increases among elderly & children

Visual Representation of SARS-CoV-2 virus | Credits: Getty Images
Visual Representation of SARS-CoV-2 virus | Credits: Getty Images

United States: COVID-19 hospitalization showed continuous growth by the end of the last week of November when compared to the four weeks earlier statistics.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data indicated 19,444 weekly cases of hospitalization reported as compared to 15,006 four weeks earlier. The growth is mostly seen among senior citizens, middle-aged adults, and children under age 4, which highlights that the virus is majorly affecting the oldest and youngest Americans.

What are the statistics on COVID-19 among seniors?

Currently, the elderly aged 65 and above are recorded with a weekly hospitalization rate of 13.5 percent per 100,000. This is the highest among any age group in the United States, as indicated by CDC data as reported by ABC News.

Reasons:

Experts gave numerous causes attributed to the high rate of admission in hospitals among the age group of 65 and more. 

One of these factors was that this category of people was considered at greater risk of suffering from severe disease. Also, this category of people had many chronic pre-existing diseases that made them vulnerable to worse sicknesses.

What are the stats among middle-aged and older Americans?

The aged persons between 50 and 64 years old constitute the second highest cause of weekly hospitalization at 2.7 percent per 100,000. This is another class that is starting to see longstanding co-morbidities, which increases susceptibility to more critical infection due to COVID-19.

Visual Representation of SARS-CoV-2

Another reason that middle-aged and older Americans have higher rates of hospitalization is that the most vulnerable among this group are not receiving treatments like Paxlovid, said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, a professor of medicine and an infectious diseases expert at the University of California, San Francisco, ABC News reported.

What are the statistics on COVID-19 among kids?

Data collected by the CDC indicated that the third highest number of hospitalizations is among infants and young children less than four years at 1.6 percent per 100,000 for the week ending December 2. Although they are less likely to fall severely ill and die due to COVID-19 compared to adults, they can get sick enough to be hospitalized.

Dr William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, stressed that it is a misbelief for parents to believe that a child who is in good health should not get vaccinated because children may be sickened badly. Additionally, studies indicate that COVID-19 vaccines help reduce admissions for children into hospitals.

Chin-Hong also said that parents are less hesitant to get their children vaccinated against influenza than against COVID-19. As of November 18, 38.2 percent of children aged six months to 17 years have gotten a flu shot, CDC data shows. Comparatively, 6.9 percent of children have gotten an updated COVID-19 vaccine as of November 25.

About Paxlovid

Reports have suggested that in some states, it’s prescribed in less than 25% of cases.

Chin-Hong even mentioned, “It represents a failure of our system to intervene and provide early therapy,” and continued stating that “You can’t really just blame vaccinations because there’s a get out of jail card, which is Paxlovid and even remdesivir.”

Paxlovid Drug for COVID-19 | Credits: Reuters

The use of Paxlovid is only recommended among high-risk patients. Chin-Hong said it’s been a relatively underused treatment because some may feel they don’t need the drug, or doctors may feel hesitant to prescribe it due to concerns about how the medication interacts with other prescription drugs.

On top of that, Chin-Hong said there are questions regarding who will bear the cost of Paxlovid. The drug has been and will continue to be free for those on Medicare or Medicaid through 2024, but people with private insurance may have co-pays associated with the drug now that it will no longer be purchased and distributed by the government.

Hospitalization to increase during the winter season!

The experts say that for all age groups, people had more cases of hospitalization in winter when the cold weather makes people stay indoors, the heat is turned up, windows are closed, holiday gatherings bring people together, it becomes an “ideal conditions for respiratory viruses to spread,” said Dr John Brownstein, an epidemiologist and chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital, reported by ABC News.

COVID-19 vaccines | Credits: Reuters

The experts have advised the importance of staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations and said it’s not too late to get a shot.

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