Why are the young also dying due to coronavirus infection?

The Chinese experience with coronavirus cases revealed that it was the older age patients and those with underlying health issues who died due to the infection. But increasingly now in the West it is the young people who are dying due to the disease. Why are even the young dying due to the coronavirus infection?

The demographic details of deaths due to coronavirus infection

Coronavirus infection first struck Wuhan followed by other parts of China before it spread to the world. While the infection remained limited to China, it afflicted all age groups. But younger generation had lower or no mortality compared to the older age group. Also people with comorbid health conditions such as lung diseases, diabetes, hypertension were dying in increased due to the disease. The younger healthy individuals usually had milder or no symptoms of the disease.

Young patient dies of coronavirus (Source: CNN)

But as the disease processed to engulf Europe and the USA, it was seen that even the young succumbed to the disease. Even healthy health care workers who are less than 60 years old died due to the disease. So what is the reason that the disease is proving deadly even in the young?

Theories on why coronavirus is killing the young as well!

There are several reasons put forth for this observation. Some believe that the viral load decides the outcome. If the amount of virus that enters the body is more, death is inevitable irrespective of the age, gender, comorbidities, or immune status of the person. Virologist Alison Sinclair at Sussex University said:

A person with a high viral load has more virus particles than one with a low load,”

“We do not yet know what impact viral load has on the symptoms of a person infected with Covid-19. Whether there is a link between a high viral load and worse outcomes is going to be important to find out.”

High viral load can kill young (Source: CNN)

Edward Parker at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine stated:

“For Covid-19, early reports from China suggest that the viral load is higher in patients with more severe disease, which is also the case for Sars and influenza.

“So it is crucial for us to limit all possible exposures to Covid-19, and if we are feeling unwell we need to observe strict self-isolation measures to limit our chance of infecting others.”

Gene’s and disease

Others believe that there is a genetic susceptibility which makes people of some race or genetic makeup to be more severely affected than the others. The virologist Michael Skinner at Imperial College London opines:

“It is very possible some of us could have a particular genetic make-up that makes it more likely we will respond badly.”

Genes and coronavirus (Source: BBC)

He added:

It could be that we are seeing a similar sort of susceptibility in some individuals who get Covid-19, and that leads them to suffer more acutely from serious side-effects,”

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Source: The Guardian