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The 5 Worst States for Working-Age COVID-19 Hospitalizations Now

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The number of working-age people entering U.S. hospitals with COVID-19 increased dramatically between the last full week of November and the last full week of December.

U.S. hospitals recorded 26,591 admissions of people ages 18 through 59 with COVID-19 during the week ending Dec. 26, up 54% from the total for the week ending Nov. 28, according to a comparison of the latest community-level pandemic tracking report from the White House COVID-19 Team’s Data Strategy and Execution Workgroup with the report released a month earlier.

Hospitalization rates for people ages 18 through 29 have been increasing especially rapidly. The latest report shows that the absolute number of admissions in that age group has increased by more than 100% in just the past week in nine states and the District of Columbia.

It’s possible that week-over-week comparisons have been thrown off by factors such as the Christmas holiday and a tendency to let data reporting duties pile up throughout the month.

But month-over-month comparisons do show that, for the 18-59 age group, in the typical state, the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations per 100,000 people has increased to 7.5, from 5.5.

The government community profile reports do not indicate what percentage of hospitalizations are related to the COVID-19 omicron variant and what percentage are caused by other variants. A government variant tracking report shows that about 58% of all new U.S. COVID-19 cases are being caused by the omicron variant, up from none in November.

What the Numbers Mean

If COVID-19 hospital admissions kept up at that same rate for the whole population for a whole year, that would mean that about 1 in every 300 people would spend some time getting hospitalized for the disease at some point in the year.

COVID-19 impact figures for people ages 18 through 59 are of keen interest to life insurers, because people in that age group are more likely than people in other age groups to have individual life insurance, employer-sponsored group life insurance, and individual and group disability insurance.

At this point, the United States is recording more than one death of a working-age U.S. resident with COVID-19 for every hospital admission of a patient with COVID-19 in that age group. That implies that the United States could record about 1,000 deaths of a working-age individual with the disease per week for at least the next few weeks.

About half of U.S. adults have life insurance, according to LIMRA. Life insurers have talked about paying an average about $50,000 in claims per pandemic-related death claim. Those figures, combined with the government working-age patient hospitalization data, could translate into pandemic-related mortality losses for working-age individuals of about $25 million per week.

The States

Working-age hospitalization rates at the state level range from just 2.6 COVID-19 hospitalizations per 100,000 residents, in Alaska, up to more than 13 in two Great Lakes states.

For the five states with the highest working-age hospitalization rates as of Dec. 26, see the gallery above.

Changes in the number of working-age COVID-19 hospitalizations per 100,000 lives range from a decrease of 5.2, to 5.1 hospitalizations, in Montana, up to an increase of 8.2, to 12.1 hospitalizations, in New Jersey.

We included Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia in the state chart but left them out of the gallery, because they differ in so many ways from states. If the District of Columbia were included in the gallery, it would rank as the leader, both in terms of its working-age hospitalization rate and in the change in the hospitalization rate between Nov. 28 and Dec. 26.

The District of Columbia has seen its hospitalization rate soar to 19.1 working-age hospitalizations per 100,000 residents in the latest figures, from 3.4 hospitalizations per 100,000 residents just a month earlier.

Hospitalizations of U.S. Residents Ages 18-59, per 100,000 Residents

 x Dec. 26 Nov. 28 Change
Alabama 4.1 2.2 1.9
Alaska 2.6 3.8 -1.2
Arizona 9.6 11.0 -1.5
Arkansas 5.1 3.4 1.7
California 4.0 2.9 1.1
Colorado 11.9 12.9 -1.0
Connecticut 8.5 3.8 4.7
Delaware 12.6 7.4 5.2
District of Columbia 19.1 3.4 15.7
Florida 7.5 2.3 5.3
Georgia 7.5 3.1 4.4
Hawaii 3.1 1.3 1.8
Idaho 2.9 5.4 -2.5
Illinois 12.4 6.1 6.3
Indiana 13.6 10.3 3.3
Iowa 9.5 7.4 2.1
Kansas 9.1 5.6 3.6
Kentucky 10.3 6.6 3.6
Louisiana 6.9 1.7 5.2
Maine 5.4 7.1 -1.6
Maryland 12.3 4.5 7.8
Massachusetts 7.4 4.0 3.4
Michigan 11.4 12.6 -1.3
Minnesota 8.4 9.3 -0.9
Mississippi 3.4 1.6 1.7
Missouri 10.1 5.7 4.4
Montana 5.1 10.4 -5.2
Nebraska 5.8 7.4 -1.7
Nevada 8.1 7.0 1.1
New Hampshire 8.0 9.5 -1.5
New Jersey 12.1 3.9 8.2
New Mexico 7.7 9.8 -2.1
New York 10.8 4.9 5.9
North Carolina 5.4 3.5 1.9
North Dakota 7.2 11.9 -4.7
Ohio 16.1 11.6 4.5
Oklahoma 9.5 5.7 3.7
Oregon 2.7 2.7 0.0
Pennsylvania 9.1 7.7 1.4
Puerto Rico 1.4 0.2 1.2
Rhode Island 6.4 3.6 2.8
South Carolina 5.3 2.4 2.8
South Dakota 9.5 8.4 1.1
Tennessee 5.8 3.0 2.7
Texas 6.9 3.6 3.3
Utah 6.6 7.1 -0.5
Vermont 5.4 3.7 1.8
Virginia 6.4 3.2 3.3
Washington 3.1 2.2 0.9
West Virginia 11.5 8.6 2.9
Wisconsin 9.5 8.5 1.0
Wyoming 4.1 5.9 -1.7
MEDIAN 7.5 5.5 1.8

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(Photo: Mongkolchon Akesin/Shutterstock)