PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday that nationally COVID-19 hospitalizations seem to be a bit more skewed to younger people than they were several months ago.
In Oregon, an analysis by The Lund Report published mid-March illustrates a trend in COVID cases, saying since January, the share of new cases in Oregonians aged 10 to 19 has grown by roughly 50% while the proportion of those aged 20 to 50 has shrunk.
"Around February we noticed the fraction of cases we were seeing in kids 10 to 19 was increasing. This was taking place at a time when the overall number of cases was falling dramatically so I don’t think people were really noticing," Jacob Fenton, the freelance journalist who wrote the piece, said.
He said Oregon has done a little bit better in that age range since. He’s been gathering the data every day.
"Since March I’ve been running a scraper that collects all of the info on OHAs main COVID page every two hours and what that allows us to do is tell the number of cases in each age range over time," Fenton said.
Over the entire pandemic, online data from the Oregon Health Authority shows there’ve been 18,860 cases in that 10 to 19 age range which is about 11 percent of the state’s cases and have accounted for 0.8 percent of hospitalizations.
"The numbers are so small, it’s really hard to tell. It certainly does look as if they’re going up but there’s so much variability in that, I think it’s really hard to tell," PSU Biology Professor Ken Stedman said.
He said we don’t have enough data yet to know how variants might play into things either.
We asked OHA what they’re seeing in younger people right now. They pointed out that schools are not the driver of COVID-19 transmission but that when cases increase in the community, we see more cases who may attend school. What they’ve found so far is that activities are contributing to those outbreaks.
Stedman said without a lot more testing, it’s hard to know if there's just more cases being detected in younger people or actually more cases, but that the data in older groups shows good signs for vaccinations.
"One thing we do know is the numbers for older people are definitely going way down so death rates are way down, hospitalizations are way down, which is awesome. It means vaccines are working, also really important that we get some of the kids in that age range vaccinated," Stedman said.
As far as vaccines for younger ages, right now the FDA has only given emergency use authorization for people 16 and up.
Last week we reported on the Pfizer announcement that clinical trials show its vaccine is highly effective on ages 12 to 15 and it hopes the FDA will expand it for those age groups.