What we know about the 16-year-old girl who is France’s youngest coronavirus victim

What we know about the 16-year-old girl who is France's youngest coronavirus victim
Illustration photo: AFP
Although the majority of the victims of coronavirus remain the elderly and people with pre-existing health conditions, on Thursday France announced that a 16-year-old girl had fallen victim to the illness.

The girl, named as Julie by French media, becomes France's youngest victim of the illness.

Director General of Health Jérôme Salomon described her death as “tragic” and said that “severe forms of the virus in the young are extremely rare”.

 

As the death toll rose – on Thursday night a total of 1,696 people had died from the virus since the start of the outbreak – health authorities have stopped providing detailed breakdowns on each death, but say that it remains the case that the majority of people who have died in France have been elderly, had serious underlying health conditions or both.

But this was not the case for Julie.

The girl, a college student from Essonne in the greater Paris region, did not have serious underlying health problems, according to her older sister Manon.

“You have to stop thinking that this only affects the elderly. No one is invincible in the face of this virus,” her sister told French newspaper Le Parisien.

The family also told media that is happened very quickly, with Julie complaining of just a mild cough last week.

She got worse over the weekend and saw her general practitioner, who diagnosed respiratory illness.

She was taken to her local hospital in Essonne, then as her condition deteriorated she was transferred to the Necker children's hospital in Paris.

There she was intubated, but despite the best efforts of the medical team she died on Tuesday night.

Her case was unusual, doctors assured French media on Friday morning, saying she had been hit by an extremely aggressive variant of the virus.

Funerals in France are currently restricted to 10 people only, but her classmates are planning a memorial for her when schools resume after the lockdown.

A classmate described her as “very sociable, funny, kind, ambitious and a beloved young girl in school”.

 


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