The misconception that young people can easily survive the coronavirus has been debunked again, following the death of a five-year-old in the United Kingdom.
The child was among 708 people whose deaths caused by COVID-19 were announced on Saturday in the UK, propelling Britain’s death toll beyond 4300.
But authorities fear messages about the very real threat to young people are falling on deaf ears.
And it’s not just foreign countries that are reporting a growing number of life-threatening cases among children and people under the age of 30.
It’s happening in Australia, too.
On Sunday, New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard announced about a quarter of all cases in NSW were people under 29 years old.
“I keep hearing messages that young people think this isn’t going to affect them … it can affect young people and it is currently affecting young people,” Mr Hazzard told reporters.
“‘Take it seriously’ is my message to young people.”
Of the state’s 2580 cases, 565 are in people aged under 29, while 105 are in people aged under 19.
Three people in their 30s are so ill they have been put on ventilators in intensive care.
So far, the youngest recorded death during the pandemic is a six-week-old baby in the US state of Connecticut.
The baby died last week after testing positive for the coronavirus.
Governor Ned Lamont confirmed the death on Wednesday, adding it was likely one of the youngest deaths from the disease “anywhere.”
Those who still think young people aren’t seriously affected by the coronavirus need to confront the reality that people of all ages are dying or being treated in hospital after contracting the disease.
In Australia, people aged between 20 and 29 account for the highest number of confirmed cases of all age groups.