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Doctors say they're seeing more patients in their 20s, 30s in the ICU

Doctors say these new younger patients all have one thing in common, they are unvaccinated.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Doctors are reporting a frightening trend in hospitals, the COVID-19 patients are younger and sicker. But what does the science say?

 Let's connect the dots.

As the delta variant spreads, doctors say they are seeing more patients in their 20s and 30s in the ICU. This is a big change from the start of the pandemic when they saw mostly older patients with underlying conditions. 

Doctors say these new younger patients all have one thing in common, they are unvaccinated.

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Right now, less than half of people ages 18 to 39 are vaccinated in the U.S., compared to over 80% of Americans 65 to 74. The vaccines have been proven to be very effective at preventing hospitalizations, so most of the COVID-19 cases that end up in the hospital are young, unvaccinated people.

On top of that, some doctors are starting to believe that the delta variant behaves differently than the original version of COVID-19.

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RELATED: Yes, at least 95% of people currently hospitalized for COVID-19 are unvaccinated

Research is still in the early stages, but a study in Scotland found patients with delta were at nearly twice the risk of being hospitalized. 

And another preliminary study in Canada found the risk of being admitted to intensive care was four times higher with delta.

RELATED: North Carolina offering $100 COVID-19 vaccine incentive

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