YOUNG Covid patients are suffering injuries to their organs, a Government scientific adviser has warned.
Professor Calum Semple, a member of Sage, said youngsters were getting kidney and lung injuries after being hospitalised with the disease.
Talking about the people currently going into hospital, Prof Semple told BBC Breakfast "they're nearly all unvaccinated”.
“And what's surprising is that although they're not dying, they are suffering quite a lot of injuries, so we're seeing a lot of kidney injuries and lung injuries in these younger people,” he said.
Prof Semple said his concern was not so much tragic deaths, but "otherwise healthy people that would normally be economically important".
"They're going to get damaged, they're going to get lung scarring and kidney disease… this is actually different to long Covid, this is acute Covid injury", he said.
The professor from the University of Liverpool, also said there were some older people in hospital where the vaccine "just can't help" them "because they're older, and the immune system doesn't protect them".
He added: "My big message to people now is 'sure we've weakened the link between community cases and hospital cases, but that link is not broken and it's the people that are not vaccinated that are still coming to harm'."
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Dr Peter English, a retired consultant in communicable disease control, also warned young people could have organ damage that affects them forever.
Responding to the lifting of rules on July 19, Dr English said: “Many of the commentators suggesting such a relaxed approach forget that long Covid affects 30-50 per cent of people, including children and young people.
“And a proportion will have lung, brain, or other organ damage that is likely to affect them for the rest of their lives.”
Prof Adam Finn, Professor of Paediatrics, University of Bristol, added: “We need to get the message across that this is not a completely innocent infection in young people.
“It’s less of a problem than in the elderly or vulnerable of course but young people also come into contact with the old and vulnerable so they do pose a risk to others as well as having some risk themselves.
“Young people need to be vaccinated to get back to the normality than we all want – we need to work hard to get that message across over the next few weeks.”
It’s not over yet
It comes as a time when scientists fear the impact the Delta variant will have on those infected as lockdown is officially lifted on July 19.
Cases are now consistently high and will get worse.
Although hospitalisations and deaths will not rise as they did in previous waves, thanks to vaccines, the virus will still have consequences, experts say.
There are major concerns about an epidemic of long Covid, impacting people’s ability to work.
And there will be deaths in the most vulnerable people for whom their vaccine has not worked.
Prof Semple said: "There's no right time to unlock."
He said that if people proceed cautiously "we probably won't see" some of the numbers suggested in "reasonable worst case scenarios".
These were deaths of up to 200 per day, 1,000 hospitalisations and 100,000 cases, as predicted by Sage modellers in papers released last night.
But Prof Semple warned of a “rough winter” that will be a mixture of Covid and all the other "respiratory viruses that we didn't experience in the last year or so".
Young people need to be vaccinated to get back to the normality than we all want – we need to work hard to get that message across over the next few weeks.
Speaking in a personal capacity, he told BBC Breakfast: "That's why I'm saying, 'we're going to have a miserable winter, I'm sorry, we're going to have a rough winter'."
Asked whether restrictions would come back, he said: "Possibly, and it may just be about reinforcing some common sense.
“It may be bringing back some mask-wearing in certain environments, but I don't foresee the lockdowns or the school suspensions that we've seen."
He said at Monday's Downing Street press conference "the language was subtly different”.
“Rather than being totally reversible, there was a few caveats being thrown in there, suggesting that come winter time some measures may have to come back”, he said.
Boris Johnson yesterday admitted the pandemic “is not over” and we can’t “simply revert instantly to life as it was before Covid”.
He said he “hopes" the road map is irreversible.
Speaking from No10, the PM said: “I hope that the road map is irreversible but in order to have that it has also got to be a cautious approach, that’s why we waited those extra weeks to get seven million more jabs into people’s arms.
“We will proceed on Monday the 19th but what people need to remember is that this pandemic is not over. If we’re cautious and everybody gets vaccinated, then, yes, we can make steady progress.”
He urged everyone – particularly young people – to take up their vaccine offer.
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