The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that there are an increasing number of coronavirus patients in intensive care who are otherwise healthy and in their 30s and 40s.
This is despite the widespread belief that COVID-19 posed a greater threat to the elderly and those with underlying conditions.
Young deaths from coronavirus
Two UK teenagers have died in recent weeks. The UK death toll is now up to 4,313.
Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s coronavirus technical lead, said older people are worst affected.
But she said there has been an increase in young people dying from the disease.
“There are still many unknowns at this present time.”
At a press conference in Geneva on Friday she said: “We are seeing more and more younger individuals who are experiencing severe disease.
“I should say, overall, most of the people who are experiencing severe disease and ending up in ICU are people of older age, and are people who have underlying conditions.
“But what we are seeing in some countries… individuals who are in their 30s, 40s and 50s who are in ICUs and have died.”
She said that the WHO needs to “better understand” why young people were dying from coronavirus, adding “there are still many unknowns at this present time”.
The WHO warnings came as two teenagers died from coronavirus in the UK in recent weeks.
Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, 13, and Luca Di Nicola, 19, both passed away after becoming infected with the virus.
They didn’t have underlying health conditions.
No underlying conditions
Ismail was taken to King’s College Hospital after showing symptoms on March 26.
The following day, his family said he had tested positive for COVID-19 and put on a ventilator.
He died in the early hours of Monday morning (March 30).
His brother, Davide Di Nicola, said in a heartbreaking message on Instagram: “We both grew and matured and you, surely more mature than me, had the courage and the desire to bring new goals.
“Cooking, your greatest passion would have taken you far.”
Health secretary Matt Hancock warned this week that people must stay at home despite the warm weather, and the temptation to gather outside.
He said the government aims to increase the number of tests for coronavirus up to 100,000 per day by the end of the month, meaning the lockdown could be loosened.
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