Teenagers are low risk 'but the virus can hitch a ride and you can lose a loved one' warns North Yorkshire health chief

Teenagers could lose a loved one if they break social distancing rules.

Thursday, 18th June 2020, 4:18 pm

That is the stark warning from Scarborough, Whitby and Filey’s public health chief who is urging teenagers to adhere to the Government guidelines when it comes to socialising.

“The risk to young people if they become infected of developing severe illness is actually quite low,” said Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health for North Yorkshire.

“A lot of young people think ‘I don’t have much to lose if I meet up with large groups of mates and hang out and do what teenagers do’.

Police around the country - here in Brighton - have been warning teenagers about congregating.

“The concern I have is then, unknowingly, you may then take that home and, through just interactions that families have with each other, you or your mates may then lose their nan or somebody in another household who has an underlying health condition, whether they have cancer or diabetes or heart disease.

“And suddenly, you lose a loved one."

Dr Sergeant was speaking at an online meeting led by North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan which also included updates from police chiefs.

He was responding to concerns from members of the public about the behaviour of young people.

He said: ““Yes have fun but you have to think about the virus is looking to hitch a ride and it is looking for precisely those kinds of interactions that allow it to spread rapidly to a large number of people and their households.

“It’s never about just who you are meeting, it’s about who are they then meeting? Who are their household contacts? And the household contacts of those contacts?”

Assistant Chief Constable Mike Walker told the same meeting that teenagers gathering in groups of more than six is a problem that continues to happen in North Yorkshire.

He said police have powers to deal with those young people and their parents.