According to the Italian Federation of Health Agencies and Hospitals (FIASO), overall COVID-19 hospitalizations in the country grew 19.5 percent during the week ending Tuesday.
It was the second straight week of double-digit growth, following a 24 percent increase the week before. However, in ICUs the increase was smaller, rising 9 percent in the last week.
In particular, the FIASO data showed that the number of unvaccinated people hospitalized for COVID-19 is growing faster than the vaccinated, with a 28% increase in admissions of unvaccinated patients to regular wards and an increase 30% in ICUs.
On average, unvaccinated patients hospitalized with COVID-19 infections were about 10 years younger than vaccinated people hospitalized with the disease, according to the report.
The increases came as health officials warned of a possible winter wave of COVID-19 in Italy, the first European country hit by the pandemic in 2020.
Last week, the country’s National Institute of Health (ISS) said the virus’s transmission rate had again surpassed 1.0, indicating the virus’s reach is increasing, with each recovered patient replaced by more than one new infection.
The country is also experiencing a slower rollout of the latest booster vaccine. Giovanni Migliore, president of FIASO, said the virus had become endemic in Italy and as such it was best for health officials to promote booster shots as seasonal measures.
FIASO also noted in the report that 65 percent of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 were initially being treated for other conditions, while the remaining 35 percent were hospitalized specifically for COVID-19. ■