University of California researchers say that young people are increasingly susceptible to the new coronavirus, with vaping being one of the risk factors.
Knowledge about COVID-19 is growing. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, one in three young people between the ages of 18 and 25 is likely to develop a serious form of the disease, contrary to what was announced at the beginning of the pandemic.
Researchers at the University of California studied the reaction of 8,400 people infected with the virus. Based on this sample, they concluded that 33% of men and 30% of women are more susceptible to the new coronavirus in general and are therefore more likely to be hospitalized with serious complications.
Vaping, one of the risk factors in young people
Not surprisingly, those over 65 are more exposed to this risk, but the gap between young and old seems to have narrowed in recent weeks, with the number of hospitalizations among young people recently increasing by 299% (compared to 139% among the elderly). According to researchers, there were 8.7 hospital admissions per 100,000 people in the 18-29 age group in mid-April, compared to 128.3 per 100,000 people over 65. At the end of June, these numbers were 34.7 and 306.7, respectively.
How can this increase be explained? Several factors increase this risk in young people, such as diabetes, asthma, heart, immune system, liver disease, and obesity, and smoking, including vaping. “Recent evidence suggests that smoking is associated with an increased likelihood of progression of COVID-19, including the development of serious complications, admission to intensive care, or death,” confirmed Sally Adams, principal author of the study.
The effects of smoking are such that “the risk of being susceptible to serious disease is halved when smokers are removed from the sample,” said her colleague Charles Irwin Jr., who incidentally observed that no scientific data ever suggested that smoking reduced the risk of infection with COVID-19, although this was recently discussed.
A new mutated SARS-Cov-2
In early July, other American researchers discovered that the variant of SARS-CoV-2 currently circulating in Europe and the United States (called D614G) is more dangerous than the strain found in China. It would be three to six times more likely to infect human cells. “It seems likely that this is a more powerful virus,” commented Erica Ollmann Saphire, one of the researchers. Could this mutation of the virus be responsible for the recent increase in severe cases among young people? At the moment, there is no scientific evidence, but it could be an indication.