COVID-19 fact check: Are one-third of patients in NC hospitals under 50?


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Hospitals haven’t been this full of COVID-19 patients since the winter and the consensus is that it’s not just the elderly who are driving all those admissions.

But just how much younger are those patients?

CBS 17 took a closer look at one claim made this week by North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen.

THE CLAIM: Cohen said “a third of the people hospitalized are under the age of 49.”

THE FACTS: She’s right, and it’s been that way for a while.

DHHS updates its demographic information for hospitals once a week, and the most detailed numbers it releases are the daily admissions by age.

The most recent demographic stats from DHHS are from Sept. 3, and they show that more than 33 percent of admissions during the preceding two weeks were under age 50.

But it’s not entirely a new development.

On average, people in that age group have made up about a third of weekly hospital admissions — or more — since late March.

For example, looking back one month, people under 50 accounted for 34 percent of all COVID hospital admissions from Aug. 4-10.

Similar rates in admissions show up all the way back to the spring, when the vaccine wasn’t nearly as widely available as it is now and older people were disproportionately affected.

As a result, from March 17-23, those under 50 accounted for just over a quarter of hospital admissions.

CBS 17’s Joedy McCreary has been tracking COVID-19 figures since March 2020, compiling data from federal, state and local sources to deliver a clear snapshot of what the coronavirus situation looks like now and what it could look like in the future.

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