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‘You’re not too young to get virus’

By Emma Charlton | March 26th 2020 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

A hawker sells face masks at Likoni Ferry Channel in Mombasa County yesterday. Many commuters did not have the masks despite orders by Kenya Ferry Services. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

Covid-19 findings from the US show younger adults are being hospitalised.

Fatalities were highest in people over 85 years old, but the World Health Organisation (WHO) warns younger people against complacency.

Infected young adults are sharing experiences on social media. Getting infected by Covid-19 isn’t just a worry for the elderly.

That’s one of the first findings about the virus in the US, according to a new report from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Covid 19 Time Series


While fatalities were highest in people over 85 years old, catching Covid-19 can result in hospitalisation and admission to an intensive care unit for a range of ages, it said.

Of the more than 500 people known to be hospitalised, 18 per cent were 45-54 years and 20 per cent were in the 20-44 age bracket. Of those admitted to intensive care, 36 per cent were 45-64 years and 12 per cent were 20-44 years. No intensive care admissions were reported among people who are 19 years or younger.

“Clinicians who care for adults should be aware that Covid-19 can result in severe disease among persons of all ages,” says the report, titled Severe Outcomes Among Patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19).

“Social distancing is recommended for all ages to slow the spread of the virus.”

The findings come as the WHO warned against complacency, after media reports showed young people in many countries ignoring the advice to practise social distancing.

“Although older people are hardest hit, younger people are not spared,” WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus told a news conference.

Some of the complacency may stem from the fact that reports from China, which felt the initial impact of the pandemic, showed older people were most affected.

The US CDC’s findings underlined this: At least 31 per cent of all cases studied, 45 per cent of hospitalisations, 53 per cent of intensive care admissions, and 80 per cent of deaths associated with Covid-19 were among adults aged 65 or more, with the highest percentage of severe outcomes among persons aged 85 or more.

Even so, low risk doesn’t mean no risk, and young people around the world have been sharing their experiences of grappling with the virus online, as a warning to others.

These include Tarek Soliman, a costume designer who posted on Instagram from New York’s Mount Sinai West Hospital.

“Here’s my story with coronavirus, especially for young people who think this virus isn’t dangerous,” he wrote.

“Please share so more people know that this isn’t something small we are dealing with, be responsible and stay home,” Soliman wrote.

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