Hospitalizations for COVID-19 among older adults are at least three times higher than any other age group, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As of December 7, new hospital admissions per 100,000 people aged 70 and over were 6.93 per 100,000.
The second highest rate is for people aged 60 to 69, which stands at 2.21 per 100,000, as of December 6.
When looking at rates for younger age groups, the disparity is even greater. Among people aged 17 and under, the new rate of hospital admissions is 0.28 per 100,000.
This follows CDC data showing that more than 90% of COVID-19 deaths, as of Dec. 7, have occurred in people aged 50 or older.
“It really shows both that this virus is still around and that it is causing significant illness in our communities, affecting our most vulnerable population, which is the elderly population,” said Dr. John Brownstein, epidemiologist and director of innovation at Boston Children’s. Hospital and an ABC News contributor.
Brownstein said the rise in hospitalization rates highlights the lack of reminders received by the elderly population.
Although the majority of people aged 65 and older are 93.8% fully vaccinated, only just over a third received an updated bivalent booster dose, according to CDC data.
“The reason we didn’t see uptake in this population is likely multifactorial,” Brownstein said. “There is probably misinformation or misunderstanding about the benefits of boosting.”
He continued: “You know they may have had the original vaccine and then the virus, so they feel like they’re [protected]. Also, we don’t have the same level of messaging that we once had on vaccines.”
Brownstein said there is already evidence that COVID hospitalizations are trending up, which could continue into the upcoming holiday season as more people congregate indoors — potentially unmasked — and travel.
Additionally, hospitals are feeling the crush of an early respiratory season with flu and RSV cases filling emergency rooms and hospital beds – and also mainly affecting the elderly.
CDC data shows that as of the week ending December 3, the latest date for which data is available, adults aged 65 and older are hospitalized with RSV at a weekly rate of 3.5 per 100. 000.
Additionally, over the same period, for the flu, seniors are hospitalized at a weekly rate of 18 per 100,000, also higher than any other age group, according to the CDC.
Brownstein stressed the importance of making sure seniors are energized, especially ahead of the holiday season, but also that they get their first set if they haven’t already.
According to the CDC, as of Sept. 25 — the latest date for which data is available — unvaccinated seniors ages 80 and older are dying at the highest rate of 14.16 per 100,000, followed by unvaccinated seniors aged 80 and over. from 65 to 79 at 5.68 per 100,000.
“Vaccination really remains the cornerstone of the response,” Brownstein said. “Trying to improve education and access, fight misinformation and spread information ahead of the holiday season.”
He added that while it is important for this group to get themselves vaccinated, the rest of the community should also do the same, especially because children can unknowingly pass the virus on to their parents or grandparents. -parents.
“Ultimately, we need to do what we can to protest our most vulnerable, those who may not be able to mount a good immune response to vaccines,” Brownstein said. “Of course, we also have to be sufficiently careful, making sure we act responsibly.”