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CDC: Coronavirus can give adults of any age serious illness

Posted at 10:11 PM, Mar 18, 2020

While a CDC report on Wednesday confirms that seniors are most at risk at developing a serious illness from the coronavirus, the virus also poses a risk to younger adults, according to the guidance.

The CDC's report, which is contrary to a popular belief that the coronavirus only affects older people, stated that 20% of coronavirus hospitalizations in the United States were from people age 20-44.

While fatalities among younger Americans were relatively rare, a number of cases required intensive care. Anywhere between 2 and 4 percent of confirmed coronavirus cases among ages 20 to 44 required intensive care. Also, up to 20% of cases among young adults required hospitalization.

"Clinicians who care for adults should be aware that COVID-19 can result in severe disease among persons of all ages," the CDC said in guidance released on Wednesday. "Persons with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should monitor their symptoms and call their provider for guidance if symptoms worsen or seek emergency care for persistent severe symptoms."

While the risk of serious illness isn't minuscule for younger Americans, the risk for older Americans increases with age. The guidance released by the CDC on Wednesday shows that cases among those over age 85 result in death in more than 10%, and hospitalization in between 30 and 70 percent of cases.

"The risk for serious disease and death in COVID-19 cases among persons in the United States increases with age," the CDC said. "Social distancing is recommended for all ages to slow the spread of the virus, protect the health care system, and help protect vulnerable older adults. Further, older adults should maintain adequate supplies of nonperishable foods and at least a 30-day supply of necessary medications, take precautions to keep space between themselves and others, stay away from those who are sick, avoid crowds as much as possible, avoid cruise travel and nonessential air travel, and stay home as much as possible to further reduce the risk of being exposed."