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CDC Report Indicates Coronavirus Affects Americans of All Ages

By Edo Paz, MD
March 21, 2020
Photo by Helena Lopes

On Wednesday, the CDC released data on 4,226 coronavirus cases in the United States between February 12 and March 16. As we knew from experience in other countries, outcomes worsen with increasing age, as adults older than 65 accounted for 80% of deaths from coronavirus. However, one surprising piece of information is the relatively high proportion that young people make up of those admitted to the hospital and intensive care unit (ICU).

Specifically, 12% of ICU admissions were made up of adults aged 20–44 years, and nearly half (48%) were under the age of 65. Looked at another way, of all people aged 20-44 who become infected with coronavirus, 2-4% will end up in an ICU! Of note, the report did not include information on underlying risk factors like chronic medical conditions, so we do not know if the young people with the worst outcomes had other medical conditions that could have increased their risk. Nonetheless, even if you are young and healthy, you should understand the risk of coronavirus, not just to others but to yourself as well.

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K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

Edo Paz, MD

Edo Paz is the VP of Medical at K Health. Dr. Paz has two degrees in chemistry from Harvard and an MD from Columbia University. He did his medical training in internal medicine and cardiology at New York-Presbyterian. In addition to his work at K Health, Dr. Paz is a cardiologist at Heartbeat Health, a cardiology practice located in New York City.