Young people not invincible to COVID-19 effects, warns WHO chief

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New Delhi (NVI): The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that spike in coronavirus transmission in some countries is partly due to younger people “letting down their guard.”

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a media briefing said, “Although older people are among those at highest risk of COVID-19 but “younger people not invincible” when it comes to the disease.”

He stressed that the world’s youth should be leaders and drivers of change during the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which has infected more than 17 million people globally, has disproportionately impacted the elderly and people with pre-existing conditions while younger people are at risk too.

He said there was evidence that “spikes of cases in some countries are being driven in part by younger people letting down their guard during the northern hemisphere summer.”

Tedros also advised that people everywhere must learn to live with the virus, and to take steps necessary to protect themselves and others, including those who are most at risk, such as the elderly and people in long-term care.

However, many countries have reported that more than 40 percent of COVID-19-related deaths have been linked to long-term care facilities, and up to 80 per cent in some high-income countries.

In addition to this, World Health Organization has released a policy brief on preventing and managing COVID-19 in those facilities.

WHO lists actions such as integrating long-term care in national response plans to counter the pandemic, ensuring strong infection prevention and control, and providing support for family and voluntary caregivers.

It also suggests ways to transform long-term care services so that older people can receive quality care that respects their rights, freedoms and dignity, Tedros added.

Tedros further insisted that “young people must take the same precautions to protect themselves and protect others as everyone else”.

“Young people can be infected; young people can die; and young people can transmit the virus to others.” he added.

-RJV