Adults ages 18 to 49 years old make up more than 40% of COVID-19-related hospitalizations in the United States, according to data collected by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Data collected from May to June 2021 shows that as more adults ages 65 and older are getting COVID-19 vaccines, the older demographic now account for fewer than 1 in 3 hospitalizations in the U.S.
"However, data from recent weeks show that even though the number of COVID-19-associated hospitalizations continues to decline in all age groups, the proportion of hospitalized adults ages 18–49 years continues to climb," according to the CDC.
Currently, CDC data shows nearly 80% of adults ages 65 and older have been fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus while 57.1% of people ages 12 and older have been fully vaccinated and 59.6% of adults 18 and older.
FILE - A registered nurse, cares for COVID-19 patients in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.
Despite the vaccine arsenal the United States has acquired, among the total population of the country, 50% of people are not yet fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.
Amid an onslaught of vaccine misinformation, the rising delta variant and slowing vaccination rates, COVID-19 cases have tripled in the U.S. over two weeks and many of the sickened are young adults who are eligible for the shot.
Across the U.S., the seven-day rolling average for daily new cases rose to more than 37,000 on Tuesday, up from less than 13,700 on July 6, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Meanwhile, in Louisiana, health officials reported 5,388 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday — the third-highest daily count since the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020. Hospitalizations for the disease rose to 844 statewide, up more than 600 since mid-June.
"It is like seeing the car wreck before it happens," said Dr. James Williams, a clinical associate professor of emergency medicine at Texas Tech, who has recently started treating more COVID-19 patients. "None of us want to go through this again."
He said the patients are younger — many in their 20s, 30s and 40s — and overwhelmingly unvaccinated.
"People were just begging for this," he said of the vaccine. "And remarkably it was put together within a year, which is just astonishing. People don’t even appreciate that. Within a year, we got a vaccine. And now they are thinking, ‘Hmm, I don’t know if I will get it.'"
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said on Monday he's concerned about what lies ahead amid worrying trends.
"I am worried about what is to come because we are seeing increasing cases among the unvaccinated in particular. And while, if you are vaccinated, you are very well protected against hospitalization and death, unfortunately that is not true if you are not vaccinated," Murthy said on CNN’s "State of the Union."
While U.S. case numbers and hospitalizations are still below levels from the worst of the pandemic early this year, Murthy said the worsening situation shows the need to convince more people to get inoculations.
"It is our fastest, most effective way out of this pandemic," he said.
About 186 million Americans have received at least one shot, but another 90 million eligible Americans haven't. Officials are trying to overcome a refusal among some — particularly conservative, rural white people — to get vaccinated, but it's unclear how to do that.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.