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Ontario's 3rd wave of COVID-19 could hit younger adults harder. Here's why

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  • Ontario's 3rd wave of COVID-19 could hit younger adults harder. Here's why


    Ontario's 3rd wave of COVID-19 could hit younger adults harder. Here's why
    Critical care admissions rising, while vaccinations continue and variants circulate
    Lauren Pelley · CBC News · Posted: Mar 19, 2021 4:00 AM ET | Last Updated: 7 hours ago

    In Scarborough, the east-end Toronto area that's been hit hard by the pandemic, Dr. Lisa Salamon was shocked by the impact of COVID-19 on two younger adults who came to her emergency department one day last week.

    Both looked fine, but tests showed their oxygen saturation levels were well below normal, while X-rays uncovered dire impacts on their lungs. That same day, Salamon's colleagues also treated two other COVID-19 patients, both nowhere near their golden years. One was sent off to the intensive care unit, Salamon said. The other died.

    Most striking for the Scarborough Health Network emergency physician was a man in his 40s who came in so sick he required supplemental oxygen before heading off to the intensive care unit, and needed to be proned — a face-down position used to help patients facing acute respiratory distress.

    "That's probably the first time I've done that in the emergency department," Salamon said.

    Recently, multiple Ontario physicians said they've noticed an increase in both the number of COVID-19 patients requiring care, and a shift in who is now heading to hospital.

    "They're younger," Salamon said. "And they're sicker."
    'Real risk' facing younger adults

    Across Ontario, there's growing consensus among medical experts that the province has entered a third wave of COVID-19 cases.

    There's also growing concern that anecdotal evidence of recent serious infections skewing toward younger adults is a harbinger of a difficult stretch to come — one that may upend persistent notions of COVID-19 typically only being a grave illness for the elderly.

    "We're at a real risk right now of the variants of concern taking off, and that prime age group of 40 to 75 being hit really hard by this wave, particularly with the variants being more likely to cause serious illness that requires more hospitalization," said Dr. Brooks Fallis, a critical care physician in Peel region, west of Toronto...