Son fears mother will become Britain's next coronavirus victim

Son says he fears his ‘fit and healthy’ mother, in her 60s, will become Britain’s next coronavirus victim after she was placed in a coma as he urges the public to take health advice seriously

  • The Sunderland woman was the first person in the city diagnosed with the virus
  • Her son said she was ‘otherwise fit and healthy’ and the diagnoses is a shock 
  • Today, the amount of confirmed cases in the UK has risen from 319 to 373 

A heartbroken son fears his mother could become Britain’s next coronavirus victim after she was placed in a coma.

The woman, in her 60s from Sunderland, was the first person in the city diagnosed with the virus.

To date, Covid-19 has killed six Britons and worldwide it is responsible for more than 4,000 deaths. Many victims are elderly with severe underlying health conditions.

It comes after a rise in confirmed cases in the UK today from 319 to 373, which is the second largest day-on-day increase since the outbreak began. 

The woman, who is in her 60s, is currently in South Tyneside District Hospital and had her diagnosis made public on Monday evening

The Sunderland woman’s son said: ‘Apart from her knees, she’s otherwise fit and healthy, so this has shocked us all.

‘We thought she just had a cold and a bit of a chest infection, but on Thursday she was gasping for air and struggling to breathe so she went to hospital and by Friday it was much worse.

‘We still just didn’t even think it was the coronavirus though, as she doesn’t even really leave the house.

‘In fact the only time she’s left the house in the last two weeks was to go to the doctors, so we don’t know know how or where she got it.’

He said two members of her family, who have asked not to be named, have been asked to self-isolate.  He, as well as others, say they have been given the all-clear by Public Health England.

The woman, who is in her 60s, is currently in South Tyneside District Hospital and had her diagnosis made public on Monday evening.

Britain is braced for an explosion of thousands of cases in the coming weeks as health officials struggle to contain the virus. So far 373 people have caught it and six have died

Italy is at the centre of Europe’s coronavirus outbreak – at least 9,172 people have been diagnosed with the infection and 463 people have died

It was the sixth confirmed case in Tyne and Wear to date and Gillian Gibson, director of Public Health at Sunderland City Council, said the authority was doing all it could to stop the virus spreading.

IS THE UK HEADING FOR AN ITALIAN-STYLE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS? 

The UK could be heading straight for a coronavirus crisis like the one which has crippled Italy, leading experts have warned.

Italy last night put all of its 60million people into lockdown and banned movement between cities in a drastic bid to contain the outbreak, which has infected 9,000 people.

But one scientist tracking the outbreak in the UK said Britain is following the same trajectory and could end up in a similar situation as Italy within two weeks. 

The number of cases in Italy has rocketed from just three on February 21 to at least 9,172. While in the UK it has jumped from nine to 321.

Professor Mark Handley, at University College London, compared the rate of coronavirus infection in Italy, which is in crisis, to that in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, the US and Switzerland and found they’re growing at the same rate

‘While we still have a lot to learn about the virus, the advice from the UK Government’s chief scientific adviser is that for the vast majority of people who catch COVID-19, it will be a mild illness,’ she said.

‘The best way anyone can protect themselves and others from the virus is to wash their hands thoroughly and often with soap and water, or use a hand sanitiser, and to cough or sneeze into a tissue, bin it and wash their hands.’

The Sunderland woman’s son says his mum was placed in an induced coma after her health rapidly deteriorated.

He added: ‘She is no better or worse, it is the machines that are pretty much keeping her alive at the moment.

‘I think the staff are trying everything they can, but this is all so new, and so rare.

‘It is scary to think ‘where has this come from?’ and I just hope that she’s not going to be the next one to die.’

While the number of British cases is expected to increase dramatically in the forthcoming weeks as the virus peaks, the outbreak is still well away from the levels seen in other countries.

Italy is in lockdown as it battles to contain it while on Tuesday, the number of coronavirus cases in Spain doubled.

But as Britain prepares for darker days, the woman’s son is now pleading for the public to follow the Government’s advice to try and curb the outbreaks – so that as few family’s as possible have to go through the ‘nightmare’ his family have over the last week.

‘People need to start cleaning their hands and washing themselves as the virus is out there now, and I think within the next week it will get really bad as how do you stop something that is invisible?’

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