Melbourne intensive care nurse's blunt warning of big coronavirus risk to younger adults
This is contrary to all previous observations so requires explanation.
The explanation probably lies in the origin of the current outbreak. It originated in big blocks of welfare housing.
Many of the residents would be there because they had health challenges. So they fit the usual observation that substantial co-morbidities normally are required for the virus to take hold.
So my hypothesis would be that the young patients came from welfare housing. The virus normally hits the elderly most because most elderly do have substantial co-morbidities.
A senior Melbourne intensive care nurse says hospitals are preparing for the prospect of deaths among younger Victorians as authorities battle to rein in the state's coronavirus cases.
The head intensive care unit nurse at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Michelle Spence, said there was a growing number of younger adults being hospitalised by the virus.
"What we are seeing now is young people who are going to die. There is no doubt about it," she said. "And these are people who are 30s, 40s, 50s, who have no past history."
She said deaths in Victoria had so far predominately been in older people, but that would change.
Yesterday, authorities revealed 20 per cent of people in Victorian hospitals with the virus were aged under 50, including four children.
The figures also showed a quarter of COVID-19 infections were being recorded in people aged in their 20s.
The Royal Melbourne Hospital has acquired a further 22 ventilators as the intensive care unit prepares for a surge in cases.
Ms Spence, who is the hospital's ICU nurse manager, said the hospital had patients ranging from their 30s to their 80s "and all of them are at varying degrees of their COVID journey".
"We're definitely not just seeing the elderly, that is not the case at all." "It is definitely not an old person's disease," Ms Spence said.
She said a COVID patient's time in the intensive care unit was a long, slow process, where very ill people were separated from their families.
"Being in ICU is not a nice place to be," she said. "It is absolutely not a comfortable thing to do."
Ms Spence warned the process of recovery, even after patients leave ICU, could take a long time.
She urged Melburnians of all ages to follow the directive to wear a face mask when outside their homes, saying wearing a mask was "way more comfortable than being on a ventilator".