An NHS doctor fighting the coronavirus says the disease has struck several patients under the age of 40 – and left them fighting for their lives on ventilators.
The anonymous anaesthetist claims plans are being drawn up for what to do when hospitals run out of oxygen.
Staff have ordered more ventilators, masks and gowns to protect workers – with supplies supposedly “dwindling every shift”.
Their hospital is now treating 50 patients with the virus, with the intensive care unit full of casualties on breathing support machines.
One was sent for ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) at another hospital – where a machine injects oxygen into the blood after the lungs have become too heavily damaged.
The doctor told Sky News: “It is simply not true that only the very elderly who we can imagine ‘would have died soon anyway’ will get sick.
“I have looked after more than one patient who is in their early 60s with minor or no health complaints and who exercises regularly.
"They are not your grandparents. They are your colleague, your boss, your Pilates buddy.
“They are people very much still contributing to society who would perform well on any standard measure of fitness.
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“I want you to know that young people can and do become critically unwell and die from COVID-19.
“A colleague of mine is currently looking after several patients under the age of 40, all on ventilators.”
Daily Star Online has approached the Department of Health for comment.
Confirmed cases in the UK yesterday jumped to more than 1,500, with 55 deaths.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told Brits to avoid pubs, clubs and theatres.
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He said “now is the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact and to stop all non-essential travel” as he urged people to work from home "where they possibly can".
Johnson added that anyone who lives with someone who has a cough or a temperature should stay at home for 14 days.
The PM announced the government will no longer be supporting mass gatherings with emergency workers.
Brits were also told to avoid any non-essential social contact and to shield the "most vulnerable" for 12 weeks.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, the PM said: "We need people to start working from home where they possibly can.
"And you should avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues."
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