People between the ages of 20 and 29 accounted for the greatest portion of new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases between June and August. New research shows which of those patients are at the highest risk for developing serious complications.
So far, the most serious complications and number of deaths due to COVID-19 have occurred among older people, but as an increasingly younger group becomes infected, understanding the risks can help keep everyone vigilant.
Data published in the Journal of the American Medical Association looked at more than 3,200 people between 18 and 24 years old who were hospitalized with COVID-19.
Among those 21% required the intensive care unit and 2.7% ultimately died.
Overall, three medical conditions significantly increased the risk of death: obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
In particular, morbid obesity and hypertension more than doubled the risk of death, and the effect was additive. Each additional condition further increased the likelihood of death.
Essentially, having any of these three conditions raised a person’s risk from that of a young person to a middle-aged person.
The bottom line is that young adults are much less likely to become seriously ill from COVID-19 than older adults, but if they do reach the point of hospitalization -- and especially if they are obese or have hypertension or diabetes -- their risks are significant.
The same study found that 10% of young adults sick enough to be hospitalized with COVID-19 required a ventilator.