On Thursday, UK health authorities revealed a further 113 people have died over the past 24 hours after being infected with coronavirus – one of the largest daily increases in the country since the outbreak began. There was 2,129 new confirmed cases – with the total number of positive tests surging to 11,658. The number of deaths throughout the world has also continued to accelerate at alarming levels, with nearly 24,000 people so far dying from the killer virus.
In the UK, the family of 21-year-old Chloe Middleton, who had no pre-existing medical conditions, revealed she had died from coronavirus.
The young woman from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire is believed to be the youngest person so far to die after being infected with COVID-19.
Most of the thousands of people who have lost their lives to the disease have been elderly and suffering from underlying health conditions.
But Dr Diana Gall of online doctor’s service Doctor-4-U warned of the dire consequences of young people spreading the disease – regardless of whether they are fit and healthy.
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She told Express.co.uk: “Young, fit and healthy people are at a lower risk of suffering severe complications of COVID-19 compared to older and more vulnerable adults.
“Nevertheless, there is still a risk to this group of people, and the potential for a young and healthy person to spread the disease unknowingly is catastrophic.
“On average, one person can spread this virus to two to three other people, who will then spread it to another two to three people, and so on.
“Just like older people, young people are not immune to this new virus, anyone can contract it.”
People who are unaware they have contracted coronavirus pose more of a risk to others as they are going about their day as normal and not taking precautions.
But Dr Gall warned that even younger people with no underlying health problems does not make them “invincible” to COVID-19.
She said: “Some people may have symptoms that are so mild that they’re unnoticeable, this is often more dangerous as you’re not aware that you’re infected, you go about you’re daily business as normal and in the process spread it to whoever you come into contact with.
“For those who live alone and are not worried about their own health should still social distance to prevent spreading the disease to others who may suffer more severely from the virus.
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“Young, healthy people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s are still being hospitalised with this virus.
“The majority of those who are hospitalised, in intensive care, or who have died are elderly people over the age of 65 and those with significant health problems, but it does show that nobody is invincible to Covid-19.”
Dr Gall also warned all people – regardless of their age, health status and fitness levels – should be following the strict social distancing advice of two metres’ distance.
She added: “We know that being healthy, exercising, eating a healthy diet and not having any health problems makes us less likely to get ill and we should continue to live a healthy lifestyle to boost our immune system and give ourselves every chance of fighting off infections, but this lifestyle doesn’t make us exempt from catching COVID-19.
“While you may not suffer severely we should still be mindful of what it could do to someone else if you were to spread it to them, which is why all groups of people should be social distancing during this pandemic.”
On Monday, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson placed the UK into lockdown after millions of Britons ignored advice to stay at home or follow the social distancing advice.
He again warned the public to “stay at home” and to not leave to go out unless absolutely necessary.
On Thursday, powers were granted to police punish those flouting the lockdown laws with a fine of £60 or even possible arrest.
Police also have the authority to break up public gatherings of more than two people.