healthcareSunday Times reports that patients younger than 59 have been admitted to hospital in greater numbers during the Delta-driven third wave, according to clinicians on the frontline of the war against Covid-19.

An analysis of admissions and deaths in the Western Cape has found that the 50-59 age group has been at increased risk from Covid-19 during the third wave compared to the second wave, with a higher proportion of hospitalisations and deaths. Moreover, Professor Mary-Ann Davies, director of the UCT Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Research, said on Friday that a "slightly greater number of Covid-19 cases among children [under 20 years old]" had been reported in this wave, with the proportion of children rising from about 6% of cases to 8%-9%.” Doctors and nurses in Cape Town confirm that they have been treating relatively younger patients in the latest wave compared to the second wave. Dr Helen van der Plas, a Cape Town infectious diseases specialist, has seen young patients with severe symptoms. "However, that is likely a function of vaccination of older persons, and the loss of life or past infections in the older individuals during the previous wave. Of course there are other factors too," she noted. The behaviour of younger people is overall more social, and thus riskier, than that of older groups. Research in other countries has flagged the risk that the Delta variant could cause severe disease and hospitalisation. At this stage there are more questions than answers about the Covid risk to people below 50. But at least two points are clear, say infectious diseases specialists, namely that Covid can hit adults of any age, and vaccinations reduce the risk of death by more than 90%.

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