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Coronavirus: think you’ll get away with Covid-19 because you’re young? Read this

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Kayleigh Dray
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Coronavirus warning for young people

Scientists have shared some important new Covid-19 information. 

It’s all too easy to dismiss warnings of the coronavirus, particularly if you are under the age of 60 and have no underlying health conditions.

However, new data has suggested what many scientists have long suspected: that young people are not immune to Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Indeed, almost 40% of those US patients in hospital with coronavirus are younger than 55, according to the latest data released by the US Centers for Disease Control.

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The report, based on an analysis of over 500 people admitted to hospital in the past month, confirmed previous findings that the elderly are most at risk of the Covid-19 disease, with 80% of fatalities among the over-65s.

However, it also emphasised the relative severity of the virus for those who believed themselves to be safe, revealing 20% of Americans who reacted strongly enough to require hospital treatment were aged between 20 and 44.

Similarly, 12% of those coronavirus victims in intensive care were also of the millennial generation.

“I think everyone should be paying attention to this,” said Stephen S. Morse, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, as reported by The New York Times.

“It’s not just going to be the elderly. There will be people aged 20 and up. They do have to be careful, even if they think that they’re young and healthy.”

Woman coughing
“People of all ages should follow simple measures to stop viruses like coronavirus spreading,” advises the NHS.

Professor Chris Whitty, chief medical adviser to the UK government, has issued a similiar warning.

While he agrees that the vast majority of people in all age groups will recover from coronavirus, Whitty has said it would be a mistake for young people who are healthy to think they would all just “breeze through” the pandemic.

“This is not a trivial infection for everyone,” he said, as reported by ITV News. “There are some young people who have ended up in intensive care all over the world. You shouldn’t get the impression that every single person breezes through this.”

Whitty added that the “great majority” of people will suffer no symptoms or mild to moderate symptoms, but a very small proportion of young people “will have severe disease even though they are young and healthy.”

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So what should millennials be doing? Well, there’s no need to panic: all they really need to do is follow health guidelines. 

Which, basically, boils down to this: wash your hands, practice good hygiene and start social distancing. 

Dr. Deborah Birx, the physician leading the US administration’s coronavirus task force, told The New York Times: “You have the potential then to spread it to someone who does have a condition that none of us knew about, and cause them to have a disastrous outcome.”

Dr. Christopher Carlsten, head of respiratory medicine at the University of British Columbia, added: “Younger people may feel more confident about their ability to withstand a virus like this.

“But if that many younger people are being hospitalised, that means that there are a lot of young people in the community that are walking around with the infection.”

Remember, individuals at highest risk of coronavirus include those who meet any of the following conditions:

  • People 60 years of age and older
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Chronic respiratory disease
  • Heart, lung or kidney disease
  • Cancer
  • Those with weakened immune systems
  • People with weakened respiratory system due to smoking/vaping

However, while the virus is more dangerous to the sick and elderly, we all have a responsibility to protect one another.

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As the NHS says: “People of all ages should follow simple measures to stop viruses like coronavirus spreading.”

With that in mind, then, please do as the experts suggest and practice social distancing. And, if you have a cough or develop any symptoms, self-isolate.

Or, as doctors put it in a now-viral Twitter post (see above), help them out by staying in.

“We stay here for you, please stay at home for us,” they said.

You can read all of Stylist’s latest news and advice on coronavirus here.

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Images: Annie Spratt/Unsplash

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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