Paris | “You’re not invincible.” The death of a young French of 16 years announced Thursday, after a teenager in California sounds like a confirmation cruel warnings to the youth: coronavirus strikes hardest in the elderly, but it is far from being a benign disease for others.
The deaths Covid-19 are fortunately exceptional among the young people, but “severe forms of the disease leading to hospitalization, including intensive care, or leading to death, can occur in adults of any age,” warn that the u.s. health authorities in a report.
The virus “key very predominant in older patients with comorbidities” – diseases that are pre-existing, recalled Friday on French radio, professor Bruno Riou, head of the Public Assistance-Hospitals of Paris (AP-HP) after the announcement of the death of the young Julie A. in Paris.
But “from the time where there are more and more patients are affected, there are more serious patients and even if the population of young people has an individual risk is extremely low (…) of course there will be some patients with very severely affected among young people”, highlighted it also.
In the United States, the 20-44 years of age accounted for 29% of confirmed cases, 20% of patients hospitalized for Covid-19 and 12% of cases admitted to an intensive care unit, according to a report from the Centers for disease control and prevention of diseases (CDC), involving 2500 patients listed until march 16.
The age of 20 years were much less present, with less than 1% of hospital admissions and no patient in intensive care.
In France, among the almost 14 000 confirmed cases 20 march, 30.6 percent were between 15 and 44 years, according to data released Thursday by public Health, France. And on a sample of 362 individuals placed in resuscitation, 8% belonged to this age group, over half had no known risk factor (diabetes, heart disease, obesity…)
“Not a joke”
Even among the people affected by less severe forms, the testimonies are multiplying to warn that the novel coronavirus is much more serious than a minor cold.
“The Covid-19 is not a joke”, warned as well on Sunday on Twitter to be the champion south african swimming Cameron van der Burgh, 31-year-old, referring to “by far the worst virus I have ever endured as well as being a healthy individual with lungs strong (no smoking/sports, leading a healthy life and being young”.
High fever, heavy fatigue, trouble breathing… Like it, others evoke the symptoms are very disabling that can result in the disease.
Where an increasing number of calls to raise awareness to the youth of the risks involved to ignore the recommendations health.
“The young people, it can touch you too. Be aware that your behavior can save a life and can cost a life. And this life can be yours”, has informed on Tuesday the mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti.
“You’re not invincible. This virus can drive you to the hospital for weeks – and even kill you”, they launched a week ago the director general of the world Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“Benefit cost Ratio”
Because in the United States, the images of students enjoying their “Spring break”, the university vacation spring, as if nothing was shocked. And in France, where the confinement is imposed since march 17, many examples of teenagers beat the surveillance of the containment for a drink underground in the woods, a football match between two bars of buildings or an exit from a surfing show that the threat is still sometimes taken lightly.
Such reckless behaviour does not concern only young people, but these were able to be encouraged by the information put forward since the beginning of the epidemic, showing that the elderly are far more at risk.
In fact, “the cost/benefit ratio of the confinement is higher among the young: if they think mainly of their selfish interests, these are the ones who have the most interest in continuing to leave,” said the AFP Roman Espinosa, researcher at the CNRS who specializes in the study of behavior.
He also points out that the isolation can weigh more for young people “who have a strong social life”.
“I think that the message on which the Covid-19 can infect and in which it can cause a serious infection has been distorted,” said Alan McNally, director of the Institute of microbiology of the university of Birmingham (United Kingdom).
“If you are a young adult in good health, you have the social obligation and moral to act responsibly and to practice social distancing. (…) At least you will disrupt or prevent a chain of transmission”, slice the researcher.