Hospitalizations for COVID-19 are rising across all age groups, but those younger than 50 are being admitted more now than at any point in the pandemic, according to data collected by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The data shows hospitalizations surging past where they peaked during the third wave of the pandemic that in January. ICU beds in many states have become scarce.
And according to the COVID-19 Forecast Hub at UMass Amherst, which the CDC utilizes to forecast COVID-19 trends, the U.S. could start seeing more than 32,000 new COVID-19 hospitalizations a day as early as September.
As of Aug. 17, adults between 40 and 49 are being admitted at a 23.2% higher rate than in the winter peak. Those between 30 and 39 saw a 33% increase.
Eighteen to 29-year-olds saw a jump of 3%. And juvenile hospitalizations rose by 40%.
People older than 50 still saw increases in hospitalizations, but they have not surpassed their rates from January. The age group’s vaccination rate could offer an explanation.
According to the CDC, 91.1% of Americans older than 65 had received at least one dose of an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine as of Aug. 20. Eighty-one percent of them are fully vaccinated.
As a whole, 60.2% of all Americans have received at least a single dose. Only 51.1% are fully vaccinated.
A registered nurse stirs a nasal swab in testing solution after administering a COVID-19 test at Sameday Testing on July 14, 2021, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Infection is still possible for a fully vaccinated person. But clinical trials and real-world data have proven the COVID-19 vaccines remarkably effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths.
Statistically, older populations have embraced vaccinations more than younger people. Before vaccines became available, the coronavirus proved far more deadly to the elderly and people with underlying health conditions.
Younger people, however, were more prone to asymptomatic infections that would not result in hospitalizations.
Experts have spent most of 2021 trying to convince younger people to get vaccinated. And the rise of the delta variant, which has led to a fourth wave, has only exacerbated that need.
Children younger than 12 are not eligible for vaccines, though pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Moderna are conducting trials to make them available before the end of this year.
Since younger children cannot be yet vaccinated, experts are pleading with the eligible unvaccinated to inoculate themselves in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus.
In recent weeks, businesses, schools and municipalities have moved towards requiring proof of vaccination from employees and patrons.
Companies like Microsoft, United Airlines, Twitter and Google have required certain employees to show proof of vaccination. Some, like Live Nation Entertainment, will be requiring patrons to prove their vaccination status.
This story was reported from Atlanta.