There has been a surge in women aged between 20 and 40 being admitted to hospital with COVID-19, medical experts have said.
Figures collated from a member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) said from January to August, 56% of COVID-related hospital admissions were men.
But since then relatively young women within the age group of 20 to 40 have made up 48% of coronavirus inpatients.
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Speaking to the Guardian newspaper, Professor Calum Semple, an infectious disease expert at Liverpool University and a member of SAGE, said: “We’re seeing a big excess. Something is wrong in the way society is being managed because women between 20 and 40 are currently taking the brunt of this second wave.”
He spotted the trend by gathering COVID-19 data from hospitals in England, Wales and Scotland for the Covid-19 Clinical Information Network, or Co-Cin.
Although there is no evidence to support his theories, Professor Semple believes more women are becoming ill because of they are more likely to work in customer-facing roles within hospitality and retail and members of the public are starting to ignore safety measures, such as social distancing.
Professor Semple added: “It is not simply a disease of the elderly. We are seeing people between 20 and 40 who are otherwise fit and well who are being affected.
“It’s clear to me that these working women are being exposed to the virus and that can only be because other parts of society are not taking heed of the guidance. The message is that COVID is real and it does affect younger adults.”
Chief executive of the charity Young Women’s Trust, Sophie Walker, called the findings “deeply concerning”.
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She added: “’We urge the government to analyse closely the impact on young women from close contact with the virus via the paid and unpaid work they have been asked to shoulder – from work in care homes, shops, pubs and restaurants to unpaid caring for children who are sent home from school.
“If directives such as ‘eat out to help out’ and the focus on the school return are having a disproportionate impact on women’s health we need to have an urgent response plan.”