Coronavirus leaving more young people severely ill
The World Health Organisation says individuals in their 30s, 40s and 50s are being admitted to intensive care with COVID-19 and are dying.
More younger people are falling severely ill with coronavirus, the World Health Organisation says, as the number of deaths passes 50,000 globally.
The international health body says individuals in their 30s, 40s and 50s are being admitted to intensive care with the disease and dying, despite having no underlying health issues.
However, experts said the majority of people who experience severe illness still tend to be older and with other health problems.
Executive director of WHO's emergencies program Mike Ryan said one in six COVID-19 deaths in Korea were people under the age of 60.
And over the past six weeks in Italy, at least 10 to 15 percent of people in intensive care units with the disease were under 50, he told a press conference in Geneva on Friday (local time).
"It's not that anything has changed," Dr Ryan said.
"It's that we collectively have been living in a world where we have tried to convince ourselves that this disease is mild and more severe in older people.
"But I think the evidence has been there all along. There is a spectrum of severity."
Why are young people dying?
WHO's COVID-19 technical lead Dr Maria Van Kerkhove said there were still many unknowns about why young people were dying.
"We are seeing more and more younger individuals who are experiencing severe disease," she said.
"I should say, overall, most of the people who are experiencing severe disease and ending up in ICU are people of older age, and are people who have underlying conditions.
"But what we are seeing in some countries, individuals who are in their 30s, 40s and 50s who are in ICUs and have died."
She said the WHO needs to better understand why young people are dying from the infection, adding "there are still many unknowns at this present time".
The International Monetary Fund's managing director told the press conference the world's economy had come to a standstill due to the pandemic.
Kristalina Georgieva described the situation as "humanity's darkest hour" and said the world was in a recession more severe than the 2008 financial crisis.
"This is a crisis like no other, never in the history of the IMF have we witnessed the world economy coming to a standstill," she said.
"We are now in recession. It is way worse than the global financial crisis. It is a crisis that requires all of us to come together."
There have now been more than one million confirmed cases of coronavirus across the world, the WHO said.
Coronavirus: what you need to know
What is the difference between COVID-19 and the flu?
The symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu are very similar, as they both can cause fever and respiratory issues.
Both infections are also transmitted the same way, via coughing or sneezing, or by contact with hands, surfaces or objects contaminated with the virus.
The speed of transmission and the severity of the infection are the key differences between COVID-19 and the flu.
The time from infection to the appearance of symptoms is typically shorter with the flu. However, there are higher proportions of severe and critical COVID-19 infections.
What is social distancing?
Social distancing involved minimising contact with people and maintaining a distance of over one metre between you and others.
When practicing social distancing, you should avoid public transport, limit non-essential travel, work from home and skip large gatherings.
It is okay to go outdoors. However, when you do leave home, avoid touching your face and frequently wash your hands.
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Reported with AAP.
© AAP 2020