The majority of teens and young adults who died from COVID-19 had underlying health conditions, the CDC reports. Photo by StockSnap/Pixabay
Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Three out of four young people who died from COVID-19 in the United States had underlying health conditions, according to data released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The analysis of the 121 Americans age 21 and younger who died from the virus between Feb. 12 and July 31 also revealed that 70% were aged 10 to 20 years, the agency said.
The remainder, 20%, were children aged 1 to 9, and infants 1 year old and younger, 10%.
Among the young people who died from the virus, 45% were Hispanic American, 29% were Black American and 4% were American Indians or Alaska Natives, according to the CDC.
"Adolescents and young adults, Hispanic, Black, and American Indian or Alaska Native persons and persons with underlying medical conditions are disproportionately represented among deaths associated with [COVID-19] in persons aged less than 21 years," the CDC researchers wrote.
"Infants, children, adolescents and young adults, particularly those from racial and ethnic minority groups at higher risk, those with underlying medical conditions and their caregivers, need clear, consistent and developmentally, linguistically and culturally appropriate COVID-19 prevention messages," they said.
Since the start of the pandemic in January, children and young adults have been thought to be less susceptible to serious illness and death from COVID-19.
Through the end of July, just 8% -- or slightly fewer than 400,000 -- of all confirmed cases of the virus in the United States involved people age 21 and younger, according to the CDC. Young people in this age group account for 26% of the total U.S. population.
Although 25% of the young people who died from COVID-19 and related complications previously were healthy, the remainder had a history of underlying health problems. These health problems include asthma, 28%; obesity, 27%; neurological and developmental disorders, 22%; and cardiovascular conditions, 18%, according to the CDC.
"Careful monitoring of [COVID-19] infections, deaths and other severe outcomes among persons aged less than 21 years remains particularly important as schools reopen in the United States," the agency researchers wrote.