COVID-19 harms young adults harder than thought, Harvard study shows

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In a new study, researchers found that COVID-19 is far from benign when it strikes young adults.

Once they are hospitalized, 1 in 5 wind up in the ICU and many need ongoing medical care even after they are free of the virus

The research was conducted by a team at Harvard University.

The proportion of young people who have contracted the virus has increased in recent months, as cities and states have relaxed restrictions on businesses and some people have returned to work.

In the study, the team reviewed more than 3,200 coronavirus cases where adults aged 18 to 34 needed hospitalization.

They found 21% ending up requiring ICU admission and 10% needed a ventilator to breathe.

Overall, 2.7% of young hospitalized patients died. Another 3% required care in a post-acute treatment facility even after clearing the virus from their bodies.

The researchers also found that certain preexisting conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity, were more common among the young patients who had severe health impacts or died from the virus.

As happens in older COVID-19 patients, men were also more likely than women to develop serious or life-threatening conditions. And more than half of the hospitalized patients were Black or Hispanic.

The team days given the sharply rising rates of COVID-19 infection in young adults, these findings underscore the importance of infection prevention measures in this age group.

One author of the study is Dr. Scott Solomon.

The study is published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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