Photo credit: Winny Wint Htae

16-year-old French girl’s death proves vulnerability of all ages to COVID-19

Winny Wint Htae

Published: 31 March 2020, 10:38 PM

On Wednesday (Mar 25), 16-year old Julie became the youngest person in France to die from COVID-19. Her passing came as a shock to her family, who had been told that she was just coughing because of the change of seasons from winter.

Julie’s death is a stark reminder that everyone is susceptible to COVID-19, not only the elderly and people with underlying health conditions.

As of last week, the largest infected age group in Singapore are young adults of age 20-29 years old. With the passing of this French teenager, who was thought to be safe from the virus because of her young age, Singaporean youths have been forced to face the reality of the situation as something they are not immune to.

16-year-old student Shaista Daneen hopes that new statistics of infection would create greater awareness amongst youths about the severity of the situation.

“I hope more people, especially the younger generation, would learn to take the situation more seriously and understand how dangerous this virus is to anyone, of any age,” she said.

In a similar vein, Tan Jia Hao, who is currently under Stay-Home Notice upon returning from his trip to Japan, has observed that his peers seem to take the situation lightly.

People need to play their part in reducing the spread of COVID-19, which can be done in various ways. Photo Credit: Nabilah

“My friends are still going out as per usual and I don’t see many people wearing masks. The fact that this virus can be asymptomatic also means that there is no knowing if the person beside you has it,” said the 19-year-old student.

Youths are still meeting up in large groups and disregarding health safety measures despite the risk of infections. Photo Credit: Nurul Amirah Samsudin


However, others are also feeling the fatigue of being on high alert and isolation for so long, and do not feel this news of Julie’s death will make a difference in youth’s behaviours.

“I don’t think it would be a big impact, especially with how desensitised we are to COVID-19 cases and deaths now,” said 18-year-old NSF Jeremiah De Mornay.

“It’s probably just a one-off case. At the end of the day, youths are still significantly less vulnerable than older adults.”

The sobering news has not had an effect on some youths who were still trying to enjoy their last bit of freedom before entertainment venues were shut, seemingly willing to risk the chances of being infected.

Safe distancing might seem inconvenient for now but it remains necessary. Photo Credit: Ariele Tan

However, the rising number of infected cases should be a sign for youths to take COVID-19 seriously, starting with observing safe-distancing measures that the government has put out.

Going out unnecessarily should be minimised as much as possible and youths should be staying home as much as any other age group.

After all, no one is immune to the fast-spreading virus.


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