People 65 and older constituted nearly 63 percent of U.S. hospitalizations for covid-19, with the rate increasing with age, through the first eight months of 2023, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC found that people in that age group also represented more than half of the admissions to intensive care units in that period and nearly 90 percent of deaths among those hospitalized because of covid.
The hospitalization number reflects an increase from preceding months (March 2020 through December 2022), when about 46 percent of those hospitalized because of covid were 65 or older.
The report found that most older people hospitalized from January through August this year had at least one underlying health condition, and most had two or more. Most common were diabetes, kidney disorders, coronary artery disease, heart failure and obesity.
The report also noted that more than 75 percent of older adults who had been hospitalized with covid this year had not gotten the bivalent vaccine, which protects against the original coronavirus as well as subsequent variants and had been recommended last year for everyone 5 and older. This year, everyone 6 months and older is being urged to keep their coronavirus vaccinations up to date because the virus that causes covid-19 changes frequently.
The risk of contracting covid has been shown to increase with age, which has made older people with covid more likely to get very sick, need a ventilator to breathe and require hospitalization, often in an ICU.
Health experts stress that vaccination reduces the odds of hospitalization, long covid (symptoms or conditions that develop or linger after the initial infection) and dying. But it also protects others by limiting spread of the disease.
This article is part of The Post’s “Big Number” series, which takes a brief look at the statistical aspect of health issues. Additional information and relevant research are available through the hyperlinks.