Young Adult COVID-19 Cases Boom as Older Generations Vaccinate

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As vaccinations against COVID-19 continue across the U.S., there appears to be an increase in cases in younger populations. The cause may be that this is the part of the population that has not received vaccines in general. 

There has also been a tendency to focus on the idea that COVID-19 infections and fatalities are significantly more dangerous in older people and people with comorbidities, such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and others, which has led the younger population to be a bit more cavalier about the risks of the disease.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), last summer, individuals under 30 made up more than 20% of COVID-19 cases in the country and were believed to be more likely to spread the virus than others.

Washington State Hospital Leadership: Younger People Getting Sicker from COVID-19

According to State of Washington hospital leaders yesterday, a fourth wave of COVID-19 in the state is causing a rise in hospitalizations, with younger patients a growing percentage of that population, and some displaying more severe disease than seen earlier in the pandemic.

“We are seeing younger patients than what we saw in earlier surges: Patients in their 30s, 40s and 50s are being hospitalized,” said Tom DeBord, chief operating officer of Overlake Medical Center in Bellevue.

They indicated that obesity in younger patients seemed to be common comorbidity linked to severe disease. Although why this is occurring isn’t well understood, the hospital leaders suspect SARS-CoV-2 variants are a factor, particularly the U.K. variant, which is up to 50% more contagious than the wildtype Wuhan strain.

“COVID fatigue has settled in in this group and they are letting their guard down,” said DeBord of younger adults. “We have a group of folks who aren’t as highly vaccinated yet and are less likely to follow the guidance.”

Big COVID Spike in Philadelphia Suburb Elementary School

The Penn Valley Elementary School in a suburb of Philadelphia reported that eight second-graders and two fully vaccinated family members were in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19. They are all associated with a single classroom.

“Since we’ve been open in September, this is the first time we saw this many cases in a single classroom,” said Amy Buckman, director of school and community relations for the Lower Merion School District.

Investigators are trying to determine what was behind the outbreak. They suspect a variant, but there are questions about a classroom vent that was partially closed. The school district will offer Pfizer vaccines to any students 16 and older at school next Monday.

Nationally, CBS Evening News notes, children make up more than one in five new COVID-19 cases, which is down a little bit week over week. However, there are worries that until children can be vaccinated, the pandemic will still spread.

First-Grader Dies of COVID-19 Complications in Minnesota

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, a first-grader who had no underlying health problems died from complications of COVID-19. The child was a student at Park Side Elementary School.

Heather Mueller, the state’s education commissioner, stated, “This sadly reinforces that the pandemic is not over and the precautions that we are taking are not just for our own safety, but for all Minnesotans — including our youngest students who are not yet eligible for the vaccine.”

Asymptomatic COVID-19 Linked to Higher Stroke Risk in Younger Men

According to a study published in JAMA Network Open, men under 50 recovering from asymptomatic COVID-19 have twice the likelihood of acute ischemic strokes (AIS) compared to men the same age without COVID-19 infection. 

The study was conducted in Singapore. Eighteen men were treated for AIS, a median of 54.5 days after their initial COVID-19 diagnosis. Of them, 12 did not have known pre-existing risk factors. 

AIS is a known neurological complication from symptomatic COVID-19, but none of the men had respiratory symptoms during infection. The median stroke severity, based on the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale, was 5. A score less than 4 was highly likely to have good clinical outcomes, according to MDCalc. 

Ten of the patients had large-vessel occlusion. Six of them received either IV thrombolysis, endovascular therapy, or both. The study reported that three patients might have had a possible cardiac source for the embolus.

The 18 patients were identified in 54,485 South Asian workers who lived in Singapore dormitories through October 14, 2020. There was an AIS incidence of 82.6 per 100,000 people compared to a matched cohort of non-COVID men from 2018 of 38.2 cases per 100,000. The Singapore dormitory workers made up 94.1% of the city-state’s cases.

“This case series suggests that the risk for AIS is higher in adults 50 years or younger during the convalescent period of a COVID-19 infection without respiratory symptoms,” the authors of the study wrote. “Acute ischemic stroke could be part of the next wave of complications of COVID-19, and stroke units should be on alert and use serological testing, especially in younger patients or in the absence of traditional risk factors.”

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