Large portion of young adults treated at hospitals for coronavirus, report says

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It has been widely reported that the elderly population is at greater risk than the younger population when it comes to the coronavirus, but a report Wednesday suggested that millennials would do well to take the virus seriously.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a study that said about 38 percent of the 508 patients being hospitalized in the country are between 20 and 54, the New York Times reported. About 20 percent of patients, including those in intensive care, were between 20 to 44, the report said.

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The paper spoke to a professor of epidemiology at Columbia who said those 20 and older "have to be careful, even if they think that they’re young and healthy."

For most, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The disease’s true fatality rate isn’t yet known, but it seems 10 times higher than the flu, which kills hundreds of thousands around the world each year, the United States’ top infectious disease expert told lawmakers last week.

Dr. Deborah Birx, who serves as the coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, declared millennials as "the core group that will stop the virus," during a press conference at the White House.

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"I am the mom of two wonderful millennial young women who are bright and hard-working, and I will tell you what I told to them: they are the core group that will stop this virus," Brix said. "They are the group that communicates successfully independent of picking up a phone ... they intuitively know how to contact each [other] without being in a large social gathering."

Fox News' Yael  Hanlon and the Associated Press contributed to this report