March 19, 2020 -- While seniors are at greatest risk for serious illness from the coronavirus, nearly 1 in 4 hospitalized patients in the United States are young and middle-aged adults, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
The study of nearly 2,500 cases in the U.S. found that -- as in other countries -- people in their 70s, 80s and 90s have the highest risk of serious illness and death, The New York Times reported.
But the CDC researchers also found that of the 508 known hospitalizations for coronavirus in the U.S., 38% of patients were between ages 20 and 54, and nearly half of the 121 sickest patients -- those admitted to intensive care units were younger than 65.
The study also found that 20% of hospitalized patients and 12% of intensive care patients were between ages 20 and 44.
"I think everyone should be paying attention to this," Stephen Morse, professor of epidemiology Columbia University, told The Times. "It's not just going to be the elderly."
Younger adults need to stop socializing in groups and take steps to protect themselves and others, urged Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of federal government's coronavirus task force.
"You have the potential then to spread it to someone who does have a condition that none of us knew about, and cause them to have a disastrous outcome," Birx said, The Times reported.