COVID-19 Hospitalizations for 30- to 39-Year-Olds Hit Record High

Carolyn Crist

August 16, 2021

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

Hospitals are reporting record numbers of COVID-19 patients in their 30s, largely due to the contagious Delta variant, according to  The Wall Street Journal .

The rate of new hospitalizations for ages 30-39 reached 2.5 per 100,000 people last week, according to the latest CDC data, which is up from the previous peak of 2 per 100,000 people in January.

In addition, new hospital admissions for patients in their 30s reached an average of 1,113 a day during the last week, which was up from 908 the week before.

"It means Delta is really bad," James Lawler, MD, an infectious disease doctor and co-director of the Global Center for Health Security at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, told the newspaper.

The age group mostly avoided hospitalization throughout the pandemic because of their relatively good health and young age, the newspaper reported. In recent weeks, however, those between ages 30 to 39 are contracting the coronavirus due to their active lifestyle — for many in their 30s, these are prime years for working, parenting and socializing.

Hospitalizations are primarily occurring among unvaccinated adults, the newspaper reported. Nationally, less than half of those between ages 25-39 are fully vaccinated, as compared with 61% of all adults, according to CDC data updated Sunday.

"It loves social mobility," James Fiorica, MD, chief medical officer of Sarasota Memorial Health Care System in Florida, told the newspaper.

"An unvaccinated 30-year-old can be a perfect carrier," he said.

On top of that, COVID-19 patients in their 30s are arriving at hospitals with more severe disease than in earlier waves, The Wall Street Journal reported. At the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences hospital, for instance, doctors are now monitoring younger patients daily with a scoring system for possible organ failure. That wasn't necessary earlier in the pandemic for people in their 30s.

"This age group pretty much went unscathed," Nikhil Meena, MD, medical director of the hospital's intensive care unit, told the newspaper.

Now "they're all out there doing their thing and getting infected and getting sick enough to be in this hospital," he said.


The Wall Street Journal: "New Covid-19 Hospitalizations for 30- to 39-Year-Olds at Record Rate."

CDC: "New Admissions of Patients with Confirmed COVID-19 per 100,000 Population by Age Group, United States."

CDC: "Demographic Characteristics of People Receiving COVID-19 Vaccinations in the United States."