Officials within the World Health Organization (WHO), officials have cautioned that more young people are becoming critically ill and dying from the coronavirus that has now spread to almost every country across the world.
Head of the WHO's emerging diseases unit, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, told a news briefing at the organization's Geneva headquarters yesterday that data from a number of countries across Europe showed people of younger age have died from the highly contagious illness.
Dr. Kerkhove said some of those individuals had underlying conditions, but some did not.
Much remains unknown about the virus, including why the disease develops into a severe illness in some individuals but not others, Van Kerhove said.
She added that as the virus spreads to more countries and more clinical data is collected, researchers are learning about the behavior of the virus.
Most of the people with severe illnesses in intensive care tend to be older or have underlying conditions, she said.
“But what we are seeing in some countries is that there are individuals who are in their 30s, who are in their 40s, who are in their 50s who are in ICU and who have died.”
It is a mistake to believe that the virus only severely impacts older people and those with underlying conditions, added Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s emergencies program
In Jamaica, a 13 year old boy from Kingston, was diagnosed with coronavirus earlier this week.