Is the Delta variant making younger adults "sicker, quicker"?

Physicians working in Covid hot spots across the nation say that the patients in their hospitals are not like the patients they saw last year. Almost always unvaccinated, the new arrivals tend to be younger, many in their 20s or 30s. And they seem sicker than younger patients were last year, deteriorating more rapidly.

Doctors have coined a new phrase to describe them: “younger, sicker, quicker.” Many physicians treating them suspect that the Delta variant of the coronavirus, which now accounts for more than 80 percent of new infections nationwide, is playing a role…

“Something about this virus is different in this age group,” said Dr. Catherine O’Neal, chief medical officer at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, La. “We always saw some people who we just said, ‘Why the heck did this get them?’ But that was rare. Now we’re seeing it more commonly.”

“I think it is a new Covid,” she added.

Dr. Cam Patterson, chancellor of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, said the average age of patients admitted to UAMS Medical Center during the winter was 60; now, it’s 40.