One of the only silver linings of the pandemic has been that young people are less affected by COVID-19 than the elderly. In fact, the most vital indicator of negative COVID-19 outcomes is age: Unlike the Spanish flu, which ravaged armies that were overwhelmingly comprised of otherwise healthy young people during World War I, COVID-19’s death toll is dramatically skewed toward those who have already lived many years. (For context, the average age of death from Spanish flu was 28.)
That said, about 600 Americans under the age of 18 have died of COVID-19 during the pandemic. A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) took a closer look at young people who were hospitalized for COVID-19 in July and August, while the delta variant wave took hold, and largely found that healthy young people continue to mostly evade the worst of COVID-19.
The study found that most young people who suffer severe COVID-19 outcomes had underlying health conditions. The most common, especially for teenagers, was obesity.
“Among patients aged 12–17 years, 61.4 percent had obesity,” according to the study, “60.5 percent of whom had severe obesity.”
The study looked at six U.S. hospitals—all of them in the American South—and evaluated 915 cases of COVID-19 in adolescents that required hospitalization. The vast majority were hospitalized for COVID-19, though some had other infections as well. Of the 713 patients who were primarily hospitalized for COVID-19, two-thirds had at least one underlying health condition. For the teenage cohort—patients at least 12 years of age—the obesity rate was 61.4 percent. The severe obesity rate was 60.5 percent. Just one of the eligible patients had been vaccinated, and 11 patients died in total. – READ MORE