Young people are still dying from coronavirus

Think only old people can die from coronavirus? Think again. Australian expert who led team assessing China’s outbreak says NO ONE is safe from the killer virus

  • Elderly people are the most at-risk of developing severe coronavirus
  • Experts warn young, healthy people are still dying from respiratory infection
  • More than 198,000 people throughout 167 countries have been infected 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Elderly people are the most at-risk of developing severe coronavirus, but experts warn young, healthy people are still dying from the respiratory infection.

Globally, more than 198,000 people throughout 167 countries have been infected with COVID-19. Of those, some 7,989 people have died.

Most fatalities have been people who are elderly or suffer underlying conditions, but Bruce Aylward, who assessed the pandemic in China – where the outbreak originated – said there are an alarming number of young people who have developed complications from the disease.

Dr Aylward spoke at an Australian health conference earlier this month where he said people as young as 30 were dying from the virus.

There are currently at least 561 confirmed coronavirus cases in Australia – including six people who died from the illness

‘I would emphasise that there were a lot of people in their 30s, 40s, 50s, who were dying as well,’ he said. 

‘People who did have comorbid conditions had a much higher ratio of dying from the disease, but in most people there were no other predictors, apart from age, that they could die.’

The University of Technology’s respiratory infectious diseases expert, Brian Oliver, argued deaths in young people tended to be higher in China than the rest of the globe.  

‘What happened in China doesn’t seem to be playing out in quite the same way elsewhere. In terms of younger people being susceptible, it seemed to be happening a lot more in China but not so much elsewhere and I don’t quite understand that,’ he said. 

A young man wearing a face mask passes signs for a COVID -19 Clinic at St Vincent’s hospital on March 18

A nurse speaks with patients at the door of the new Covid-19 Clinic at the Mount Barker Hospital in Adelaide, Tuesday, March 17

He described coronavirus – as with any newly diagnosed infection – as a ‘little like a lottery’.  

‘Because we haven’t had these infections before, how our body responds to it is completely unknown… There’s always going to be people who have no apparent risk factors and do very badly.’

China, Italy and Iran have experienced the highest mortality rates regarding the illness.

But other parts of Europe, particularly Germany, France and Spain, as well as the United States and South Korea, have experienced an exponential hike in cases in recent days. 

Experts fear Australia is currently two weeks behind most of the globe regarding the coronavirus pandemic – meaning it is likely cases have not yet peaked. 

There are currently at least 561 confirmed coronavirus cases in Australia – including six people who died from the illness.

Some medical professionals fear this number could soar past 150,000.  

Bruce Aylward (pictured), International team lead for the WHO-China joint mission on COVID-19, said young people are, in fact, dying of the respiratory infection

A family wearing face masks at Town Hall, in Sydney’s CBD on March 17 as more COVID-19 cases in Australia are identified

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