- Ten- to 19-year-olds in Michigan are testing positive for the coronavirus at the highest rate of any age.
- Surging case rates among people under 50 are leading to more of them being hospitalized, too.
- Older people are getting their vaccines first and are less likely to socialize or work as the economy reopens.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
As COVID-19 cases continue to mount in Michigan, more younger people are being hospitalized with the virus, according to a report by The New York Times.
On average, more than nine people a day ages 18 or under were admitted to a hospital with COVID-19 in the week that ended April 10. This is almost triple as many as in late February, according to state data.
In Michigan, the state with the highest COVID-19 case rate in the US, those ages 10 to 19 are now the most likely to test positive for the coronavirus.
And case rates for those under the age of 10 have reached their highest level of the pandemic.
“I am putting more patients in their 20s and 30s and 40s on oxygen and on life support than at any other time in this pandemic,” Dr. Erin Brennan, an emergency-room physician in Detroit, told The Times.
This is partly because older people are getting their shots first. In Michigan, nearly two-thirds of those ages 65 and older have been fully vaccinated, compared with just 5.9% of those ages 16 to 19 and 13.8% of people in their 20s.
In addition, some hospitals are lowering their standards for admission as cases plateau or fall, some health experts told The Times.
“I have a lower threshold to admit when I’m not worried about hospital capacity,” Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious-disease expert and hospital doctor in the Pittsburgh area, told the publication. He added that when hospitals were full he had previously sent borderline cases to be treated at home.
But doctors at Beaumont Hospital in Detroit’s Royal Oak told The Times that this wasn’t the case for them. They said that they hadn’t lowered the bar for admission and that some young people had serious symptoms that required hospital treatment.
“The current wave of COVID-19 infections has sickened younger adults and children more severely than earlier surges,” the Michigan Health and Hospital Association (MHA) said.
Role of the B.1.1.7 variant
The Times reported that the spread of COVID-19 among younger people could be caused by the reopening of the economy, because young people were more likely to both socialize and work. State data also shows that schools account for almost a quarter of all COVID-19 outbreaks in the state.
But experts told The Times they also believed that this could be due to the surge of the B.1.1.7 variant — which is now the most common variant in the US and accounts for more than half of all cases in Michigan.
Insider’s Dr. Catherine Schuster-Bruce reported that the variant infects kids more than the original virus, but experts told her it was no more infectious or deadly in kids than in adults.
State data shows that the number of children dying from COVID-19 in Michigan is incredibly low. In the month to April 10, only 20% of people dying from COVID-19 in the state were younger than 60.