In Michigan, more and more young people are being taken to hospital with COVID-19, and cases are higher in teenagers than any other age group
- Those aged between 10 and 19 are the most likely to be infected with the coronavirus in Michigan.
- Surging case rates among younger people are leading to more of them being hospitalized, too.
- Older people are getting their vaccines first, and are less likely to socialize or work as the economy reopens.
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As COVID-19 cases continue to mount in Michigan, more younger people are being hospitalized with the virus, according to a report by The New York Times.
On average, more than nine people a day aged under 18 were admitted to hospital with COVID-19 in the week to April 10. This is almost triple as many as in late February, according to state data.
In Michigan, the state with the highest COVID-19 case rate in the US, those aged between 10 and 19 are now the most likely to be infected with coronavirus.
And case rates for those under the age of 10 have reached their highest level since the start of the pandemic.
Read more: A business owner is saving money on employee COVID tests — and customers are picking up the tab
“I am putting more patients in their 20s and 30s and 40s on oxygen and on life support than at any other time in this pandemic,” Dr. Erin Brennan, an emergency room physician in Detroit, told The Times.
This is partly because older people are getting their shots first. In Michigan, nearly two-thirds of those aged 65 and older have been fully vaccinated, compared to just 5.9% of those aged 16 to 19, and 13.8% of people in their 20s.
In addition, some hospitals are lowering their standards for admission as cases plateau or fall, some health experts told The Times.
“I have a lower threshold to admit when I’m not worried about hospital capacity,” Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious-disease expert and hospital doctor in the Pittsburgh area, told the publication. He added that when hospitals were full he had previously sent borderline cases to be treated at home.
But doctors at Beaumont Hospital in Detroit’s Royal Oak told The Times that this wasn’t the case for them. They said they hadn’t lowered the bar for admission, and that some young people had serious symptoms that required hospital treatment.
“The current wave of COVID-19 infections has sickened younger adults and children more severely than earlier surges,” the Michigan Health and Hospital Association (MHA) said.
Role of the variant first found in the UK, B.1.1.7
The Times reported that the spread of COVID-19 among younger people could be caused by the reopening of the economy, because young people are more likely to both socialize and work. State data also shows that schools account for almost a quarter of all COVID-19 outbreaks in the state.
But experts told The Times they also believe that this could be due to the surge of the B.1.1.7 variant – which is now the most common variant in the US, and accounts for more than half of all cases in Michigan.
Insider’s Dr. Catherine Schuster-Bruce reported that the variant infects kids more than the original virus, but experts told her that it is no more infectious or deadly in kids than in adults.
State data shows that the number of children dying from COVID-19 in Michigan is incredibly low. In the month to April 10, only 20% of people dying from COVID-19 in the state were younger than 60.
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