COVID-19: young people can be severely affected too
20 March 2020
A new analysis of some early COVID-19 cases in the US shows that while older adults are at greatest risk, young people can also suffer serious illness, with 1 in 5 of those hospitalised aged 20-44 years.
In China, the first reported cases of COVID-19 indicated 80 per cent of deaths occurred in people aged 60 or over, and only one death was reported in the 19 years and under group.
Preliminary analysis of the US cases also shows older adults were at the highest risk of severe outcomes, but shows that any adults over 19 can have severe illness, leading to hospitalisation (including admittance to an intensive care unit), and/or death. There were almost no hospitalisations or deaths in those under 19 years, consistent with the cases in China.
The report by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) in the USA covered 4226 recorded cases of COVID-19. There was age data for 2449 of the cases.
Some of the findings in younger people were:
- Among 508 patients known to have been hospitalised, 20 per cent were aged 20-44 years.
- Among 121 patients admitted to an ICU, 12 per cent were aged 20-44 years.
The report acknowledges several limitations with the data, including that it might overestimate severe disease due to selection of patients, and that follow-up is needed to determine outcomes in active cases.
Last Reviewed: 20/03/2020
CDC COVID-19 Response Team. Severe outcomes among patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID0-19) United States, February 12 - March 16, 2020. MMWR March 18, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/pdfs/mm6912e2-H.pdf
Novel coronavirus - COVID-19
Symptoms of COVID-19, caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus, include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Find out how to protect yourself.
Highlights from the latest research into COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2.
In 2020, all Australians should get a flu vaccine as early as possible, as the COVID-19 pandemic converges on our flu season.
COVID-19: Resources and important information
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is a fast-moving situation - here are links to useful advice and information resources.
Prioritising psychiatric illness treatment
By understanding who’s at risk of progressing to more severe mental illness, we can target treatments to those who need it most.