An analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Wednesday underlines a message that infectious disease experts have been emphasizing: Millennials are not invincible. The new data show that up to one-fifth of infected people ages 20-44 have been hospitalized, including 2%-4% who required treatment in an intensive care unit.
In South Korea, for example, which had an early surge of cases, the death rate in Covid-19 patients ages 80 and over was 10.4%, compared to 5.35% in 70-somethings, 1.51% in patients 60 to 69, 0.37% in 50-somethings. Even lower rates were seen in younger people, dropping to zero in those 29 and younger.
In an alarming development, however, scientists in China are now reporting that the new coronavirus does not spare the very young. In the first retrospective study of Covid-19 among children in the country where the pandemic began, they count 2,143 cases in children. Of those, they report in the journal Pediatrics, more than 90% were mild or moderate, confirming earlier observations that children are at lower risk of severe disease. (That may be because the molecule that allows the virus to enter human cells seems to be less developed in children.)