LOS ANGELES, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Senior citizens in California, the most populous state in the United States, are hit hard as COVID-19 surges this winter, local media reported on Monday, citing official data.
There has been a troubling spike in coronavirus-positive hospital admissions among seniors in the western U.S. state, rising to levels not seen since the summer Omicron surge, reported the Los Angeles Times, the biggest newspaper on U.S. West Coast.
The newspaper noted that hospitalizations have roughly tripled for Californians of most age groups since the autumn low, but the jump in seniors in need of hospital care has been particularly dramatic.
Only 35 percent of California's vaccinated seniors aged 65 and up have received the updated booster since it became available in September. Among eligible 50- to 64-year-olds, about 21 percent have received the updated booster, according to the report.
Of all age groups, 70-plus is the only one that is seeing its hospitalization rate in California exceed that of the summer Omicron peak, said the report, citing the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
New coronavirus-positive hospitalizations have doubled in just two and a half weeks to 8.86 for every 100,000 Californians aged 70 and up. The autumn low, just before Halloween, was 3.09, said the report.
"We are doing a pathetic job of protecting seniors from severe COVID in California," Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla, was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
The state, home to around 40 million residents, identified more than 10.65 million confirmed cases as of Dec. 1, with 96,803 deaths since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the most recent statistics on COVID-19 released by the California Department of Public Health.