Almost 40% of seriously ill coronavirus patients hospitalized in Israel’s hospitals in the past week are under the age of 60, as the nationwide vaccination drive begins to take effect among older Israelis.
There is a clear decrease in serious illness among those ages 60 and older,” a report by the IDF’s Coronavirus Knowledge and Information Center stated. “There is an increase in the number of patients in serious condition among younger groups, which last week constituted about 40% of new serious cases.”
Five girls aged 10-19 are currently hospitalized in serious condition as well as 17 patients in their 20s, 75 patients in their 30s, 103 patients in their 40s, and 177 patients in their 50s, according to a Channel 12 News report.
“This morning we received a 47-year-old coronavirus patient in critical condition,” Dr. Gadi Segal, director of the coronavirus department at Sheba Hospital, told Channel 12. “Over the weekend, we received a number of young patients in serious to critical condition who had deteriorated due to respiratory failure. Some were transferred to the coronavirus ICU but there isn’t enough room for all of them.”
“The trend right now is very clear – the coronavirus wards are full of critically ill young patients. We’re seeing seriously ill patients in the age groups in which the vaccination rate is very low. I don’t know if the variants are responsible for more young people becoming seriously ill but the fact is that we currently have more seriously ill patients than we ever had.”
“We’re seeing fewer older virus patients due to the high vaccination rate. The age group most at risk right now is the 50-59 age group, in which the vaccination rate is not optimal but the high infection rate leaves them vulnerable to serious illness.”
Dr. Yael Haviv Hadid, director of a coronavirus intensive care unit at Sheba Medical Center in Tel HaShomer, told The Jerusalem Post that she has five patients under the age of 54 on ECMO machines and five patients under the age of 55 on ventilators.
“We see much more seriously ill young patients than we ever saw with young people in the past,” she said, adding that the current optimism about Israel’s decreasing infection rate is misplaced since fighting for the lives of younger patients is “more difficult.”
“We fight hard for everyone,” she said. “But a 45-year-old on ECMO – this is a very difficult situation.”
Haviv-Hadid urged everyone 16 and older to get vaccinated. “If young people go and get vaccinated, that would be wonderful,” she said. “If not, for those that are not going to get vaccinated, they should at least wear masks and social distance. People need to take responsibility for themselves.”
“I don’t understand why people don’t care,” she added. “Why is an entire country frozen because people do not think they are part of the national mission? In the end, everyone will get sick.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)