Teenage boy believed to be youngest UK Covid-19 victim
13-year-old boy died alone after testing positive for coronavirus
A 13-year-old boy who tested positive for coronavirus has died, a London hospital trust has said.
Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, from Brixton in south London, died in King’s College Hospital early on Monday and is thought to be the youngest person to have died with the virus in the UK.
According to a GoFundMe page set up to raise funds for funeral costs, Abdulwahab died “without any family members close by due to the highly infectious nature of Covid-19”.
In a statement released by a friend, Abdulwahab’s family said he had no apparent underlying health conditions and had tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday. They said they were “beyond devastated” by his death.
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A spokesman for King’s College hospital NHS foundation trust said: “Our thoughts and condolences are with the family at this time. The death has been referred to the coroner and no further comment will be made.”
Doctors have warned that while older people with health issues are at particular risk from the virus, young people can also be badly affected.
Earlier this week, Luca Di Nicola, a 19-year-old assistant chef, also died after testing positive for coronavirus. Sky News reports that it is understoof he was also a “very healthy” teenager, with no underlying health issues.
Nathalie MacDermott, a clinical lecturer at King’s College Hospital, told the Daily Mail: “While we know it is much less likely for children to suffer severe COVID-19 infection than older adults, this case highlights the importance of us all taking the precautions we can to reduce the spread of infection in the UK and worldwide.”
Vanessa Sancho-Shimizu, a research fellow in infectious diseases and virology at Imperial College London, echoed this, saying the deaths showed that “however exceedingly rare this may be, statistics means nothing when it affects those close to you, and that there is no room for complacency in this pandemic”.
BBC health correspondent, Nick Triggle, writes that it remains rare for teenagers to become seriously ill after catching the virus.
“Just 0.3% of those who show symptoms require hospital care and 0.006% die - in other words, two out of every 30,000 infections among this age group will not survive,” Triggle said.