SC doctors show x-rays of COVID damaged lungs as young adults skip vaccine

Less than 1% of COVID-19 doses in SC have gone to people age 20-24
Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 6:41 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - According to an MUSC critical care physician, the majority of people being hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated and between the ages of 20 and 40.

Dr. Nadita Nadig said she isn’t anticipating another dramatic spike in cases, but COVID-19 continues to send once healthy people to the ICU.

“This virus has thrown curveballs at us all along. We are in a better place but I don’t think it’s over. I think it’s premature to declare victory,” said Dr. Nadig. “There was a lot of death and suffering but we got through it. But at that time we didn’t have treatments and vaccinations, so we didn’t have a choice. But now we do have a choice.”

According to DHEC data, of all the doses of the COVID-19 vaccine given out in South Carolina, 0.8% have gone to people ages 20 to 24. In comparison, 12.5% have gone to people ages 25-34, and 36.4% have gone to people 65 and older.

(Adam Mintzer)

Nadig warns people who are reluctant to get the vaccine that the virus is still circulating and can lead to a lot of medical difficulties.

The doctor demonstrated this with x-rays from one of her patients who is currently on life support.

left: lungs of a COVID-19 patient, right: healthy lungs
left: lungs of a COVID-19 patient, right: healthy lungs(Adam Mintzer)

On the left is a chest x-ray of a man in his 30s who has COVID-19. Nadig said the white areas represent puss that can cause difficulty breathing and inflammation. On the right is a healthy person’s chest, Nadig explained the black areas represent air and indicate the patient can breathe easily.

“When you have puss in your lungs you can have varied presentations. Somebody who is very health and robust can come to the hospital with shortness of breath, fevers, and chills and go on oxygen. And then things progress from them on,” she said. “Higher amounts of oxygen, going on a ventilator for example, going on life support.”

When asked about the long term impacts of inflamed lungs, Nadig explained studies are ongoing but early indications show it is possible for patients to find themselves fatigued, struggling to breath, and even have depression and anxiety.

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