Children contributing to latest COVID surge
More than 700 people filtered into hospitals in Michigan over the weekend to be treated for the symptoms of COVID-19: Fatigue, trouble breathing, brain fog. The rise in hospitalizations has mirrored what happened when new infections soared during the fall of last year. But one factor is different this time around: The age of the patients.
Those suffering the worst of the coronavirus are overwhelmingly younger than people who were hospitalized during the last wave of the pandemic.
Most of those needing medical treatment are under the age of 50. But some are children, and the number of children being hospitalized has been rising for weeks.
Medical experts are pointing to the rise of the B.1.1.7 variant of the coronavirus as a possible cause of rising infections among children.
“Anywhere you look where you see this emerging, you see that kids are playing a huge role in the transmission of this,” said Dr. Michael Osterholm on NBC’s Meet the Press.
Osterholm is the Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.
Another factor in the changing ages of people being hospitalized is vaccine status. People age 70 and older made up almost half the hospital patients during the fall surge. They now make up just 25%. Not coincidentally, they also make up a large proportion of those who have been fully vaccinated.
A positive side effect of the change is the fact that fewer people are suffering severe effects of the coronavirus. Younger people who tend to be healthier and have fewer medical conditions are also spending less time in the hospital.
Support local. Donate today to Kalamazoo's only locally owned and independent daily news organization.