Covid Hospital Admissions Drop 72%, Led by Oldest U.S. Patients

Covid-19 hospital admissions plummeted 72% in a month in the U.S. as the virus ebbed and the vaccination push accelerated.

Americans 85 years old and over saw the most pronounced drop, down 81% from January to February, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which monitors the data through its Covid-19-Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network.

The rate was 23.4 hospitalizations per 100,000 residents 85 and over for the week of Feb. 7-13, the latest data available. That was down from 120.3 per 100,000 four weeks earlier. The overall rate across age groups was 4.6, down from 16.7.

Covid Hospital Admissions Drop 72%, Led by Oldest U.S. Patients

Overall, vaccines appear to be helping, but they’re probably not the primary driver yet. Indeed, every age group saw declines of 57% or more -- not just those who have had access to an inoculation.

The hospitalization data are likely to frame the debate over when and how to ease virus restrictions, probably more than case numbers themselves, which don’t reflect the wide differences in risk borne by different age groups.

As long as the shots continue to prevent severe disease at rates shown in trials, they’re likely to play a massive role in limiting future strain on hospitals, even before the inoculations reach the broader public.

Age is a critical factor in Covid-19 risk, with the chances of dying from the virus about 7,900 times greater for the oldest Americans than for those 5 to 17 years old. It’s 1,100 times greater for those 65-74 and 2,800 more for those 75-84.

The vaccination push started for many states in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. About 42% of Americans 65 and over have had at least one shot, CDC data show. Overall, 13.6% of the U.S. population has received one or more doses, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.

The U.S. posted 75,776 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, bringing the seven-day average up to 72,945, the third increase in as many days. The uptick may be weather related, as storms last week dragged down reporting.

According to Covid Tracking Project data:

  • New York and the District of Columbia have the most people hospitalized per capita with the virus.
  • Current hospitalizations with Covid are down from a week earlier in all but three states and the nation’s capital.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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