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Due to the novelty nature of the COVID-19 virus otherwise called coronavirus, there have been claims by different people and media houses over the world regarding the transmission of the virus, the fatality rate, and the vulnerable age groups even as scientists continue working on discovering more facts about the new virus.
According to the studies across different age groups infected by the coronavirus disease, statistics have clearly shown that the death rate increases with increasing age groups, as age 80 and above are at the highest risk.
A graphical representation of the death rate across different age groups
Does this now mean that mean young people do not get infected at all? If they do, can the virus kill them? Do young people really have some form of natural protection against the virus or not? Attempts will be made to carefully answer these questions as we journey together in this article.
Do young people get infected?
First, there is very little data on the effect of the COVID-19 virus on young people but recent studies have shown that even with children, some groups are more vulnerable than others depending on age and health conditions. So, technically, all age groups are prone to the virus.
Second, there has been at least a reported case of a kid infected with the COVID-19 virus who suffered serious lung disease. It should also be noted that kids with simultaneous respiratory infections can be more vulnerable to the virus. Infants without mature immune systems easily become infected by the virus. Yet compared to older adults, the COVID-19 virus appears to be less severe in most kids and young adults and the reason behind this is still not very clear to many scientists and medical practitioners.
While it might seem logical to assume young people’s immune system are relatively stronger when compared to old adults, their body defence system cannot still prevent them from contracting the viral disease.
In an online news conference from WHO headquarters, one of the World Health Organization officials, Mr. Tedros said: “Although older people are hardest hit, younger people are not spared.”
Mr. Tedros added: “I have a message for young people: You are not invincible, this virus could put you in hospital for weeks or even kill you. Even if you don’t get sick the choices you make about where you go could be the difference between life and death for someone else.”
Why should young people be wary of coronavirus pandemic?
Young people infected by the virus can transmit it, even if they don’t get very sick. And the particular concern is that they are likely to spread it to someone with a weakened or compromised immune system or even spread it to someone with an underlying health condition. That means hygienic practices — from proper hand-washing to social distancing — are just as important for the young and healthy as they are for people who are older people too.