Almost half of corona patients in Spanish ICUs are younger than 50

by Lorraine Williamson
corona patients
nederlandse orthopeed

Healthy young people are not as likely to end up in intensive care after a corona infection. Nevertheless, the average age has fallen drastically during the current fifth wave and mainly unvaccinated people under the age of 40 ended up in hospital as corona patients. 

Now 44% of corona patients admitted to an intensive care unit are 49 years or younger. This means that the average age is ten years lower than in the previous waves. However, many people who end up in ICU often already have an underlying condition and have not yet been fully vaccinated. 

Pressure on the ICs is slowly decreasing 

Last August 9, pressure on ICUs in Spain peaked with 2,031 beds occupied by Covid-19 patients. That was 22% of the total number of available IC beds. Since then, the number of new admissions has decreased slightly; last Friday there were 1,818 covid patients in intensive care. 

Age of corona patients in ICU

According to data from the Ministry of Health, the average age on the IC is now 51 years. 25% of all IC admissions in this fifth wave concern people between the ages of 60 and 69. In the previous corona wave, this was still 31%. Among the seventies this percentage fell even more, from 27-11%. Because the percentage of elderly people has fallen drastically, the percentage of young people in IC is now relatively high. That is also because the coronavirus is circulating mainly among the younger, unvaccinated age groups during the fifth wave

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Unvaccinated between 40 and 65 years 

The percentage of people in their forties on ICs doubled in the fifth corona wave from 10-19%, tripled for people in their thirties (from 4-15%), and fivefold for all people under 30 (from 2-10%). Now the majority of IC patients are people between the ages of 40 and 65 who have not yet been fully vaccinated. 

The Ministry of Health does not publish data on the percentage of fully vaccinated Covid patients in the ICUs. To get an impression, El País made inquiries with a dozen intensivists from hospitals from different regions in Spain. According to them, between 70-90% of the covid patients on the IC are not fully vaccinated. This percentage corresponds to the data published by a number of sub-administrations. In Murcia, 80% of the covid patients on the IC are not vaccinated, in Catalonia it is 73%. 

High risk for unvaccinated pregnant women 

A worrying phenomenon is that more and more pregnant or those who recently gave birth, end up in intensive care with serious symptoms after a corona infection. 

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