People in their 20s and 30s fill COVID ICU beds, says local doctor


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The type of COVID patients in need of life-saving care has changed since vaccinations became widely available.

“These are young people. People in their 20s and 30s,” says Dr. Wes Ely, Professor of Critical Care at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Dr. Ely spends hours in the COVID Intensive Care Unit and notes the noticeable shift.

“Before it was the 50s to 70 and 80-year-olds, and now we have people who are in the prime of their life.”

Driving the change is the divide among people willing to take the COVID shot.

“A lot of the old people felt the need to get vaccinated, and did, and are now protected. But some of the young people felt more invincible, and haven’t. Now they’re the ones filling up our ICU with COVID.”

News that the state-wide executive order allowing mask mandates will expire, and capacity restrictions will soon lift in Metro Nashville, doesn’t sit well with those on the front-line fight.

“Yes, I’m highly concerned,” says Dr. Ely.

As is Dr. Jason Martin a critical care physician treating COVID patients. He released a statement which reads in part: “Governor Lee abandoned his responsibility and put the burden on individual businesses, teachers, parents, and communities to fight this global pandemic all on their own.”

Dr. Ely believes the economy and health care are two necessary sectors that shouldn’t be in battle.

“We want to get back to our normal. We want to get back to society, and businesses, and having people earning their money at their jobs. And we can do that, if we get enough people vaccinated.”

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