COVID Hospitalization Rates See an Uptick As Winter Looms — The Kiplinger Letter

The elderly are still at risk of COVID hospitalization, despite a new Omicron booster and winter is right around the corner.

COVID-19 hospitalization rates continue to rise as the U.S. prepares another round of boosters. To help you understand what is going on in the healthcare sector and what we expect to happen in the future, our highly experienced Kiplinger Letter team will keep you abreast of the latest developments and forecasts (Get a free issue of The Kiplinger Letter or subscribe). You'll get all the latest news first by subscribing, but we will publish many (but not all) of the forecasts a few days afterward online. Here’s the latest… 

An uptick in COVID-19 hospitalizations should not concern most people. But it’s increasingly a worry for the elderly. Since the pandemic has eased, the number of cases that wind up in the hospital is the best way to gauge the severity of what is left. 

On July 5, 2023, the daily COVID-19 hospitalization rate hit its lowest level: 0.6 per 100,000 cases. By Sep. 2, it had ticked up to 1.3, a daily increase of 2,300. The trend is more pronounced for those over age 70, whose hospitalization rate has more than doubled to 6.3. COVID deaths have not yet risen but will likely follow suit.

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The true test of the pandemic’s resilience will be this winter when people are indoors together much of the time. Except for those over the age of 70, chances are that any mini-surge in infections will be only a nuisance. The Omicron variant that has pushed out other iterations of the virus has proved much less deadly.

A new booster targeting the latest versions of Omicron will be available in late September or early October and should be taken at least five months after the last bivalent booster.

This forecast first appeared in The Kiplinger Letter, which has been running since 1923 and is a collection of concise weekly forecasts on business and economic trends, as well as what to expect from Washington, to help you understand what’s coming up to make the most of your investments and your money. Subscribe to The Kiplinger Letter. 

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David Payne
Staff Economist, The Kiplinger Letter

David is both staff economist and reporter for The Kiplinger Letter, overseeing Kiplinger forecasts for the U.S. and world economies. Previously, he was senior principal economist in the Center for Forecasting and Modeling at IHS/GlobalInsight, and an economist in the Chief Economist's Office of the U.S. Department of Commerce. David has co-written weekly reports on economic conditions since 1992, and has forecasted GDP and its components since 1995, beating the Blue Chip Indicators forecasts two-thirds of the time. David is a Certified Business Economist as recognized by the National Association for Business Economics. He has two master's degrees and is ABD in economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.