On Wednesday, the CDC released data on 4,226 coronavirus cases in the United States between February 12 and March 16. As we knew from experience in other countries, outcomes worsen with increasing age, as adults older than 65 accounted for 80% of deaths from coronavirus. However, one surprising piece of information is the relatively high proportion that young people make up of those admitted to the hospital and intensive care unit (ICU).
Specifically, 12% of ICU admissions were made up of adults aged 20–44 years, and nearly half (48%) were under the age of 65. Looked at another way, of all people aged 20-44 who become infected with coronavirus, 2-4% will end up in an ICU! Of note, the report did not include information on underlying risk factors like chronic medical conditions, so we do not know if the young people with the worst outcomes had other medical conditions that could have increased their risk. Nonetheless, even if you are young and healthy, you should understand the risk of coronavirus, not just to others but to yourself as well.