Elderly warned to 'take care' with grandchildren over coronavirus

Elderly are told to ‘take care’ with their grandchildren as experts warn families are most likely to catch coronavirus from their loved ones than from strangers

  • Prof John Edmunds warned elderly people are at greatest risk from loved ones
  • He said parents should warn their own frail parents about the potential risk
  • The London School of Hygiene expert said people need to begin preparing 
  • Death rates from coronavirus are far higher than among the younger generation 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Families need to protect grandparents from their own grandchildren because people are most likely to contract coronavirus from their loved-ones, a world-renowned expert on infectious disease warns.

In a stark message ahead of Mothering Sunday next weekend, Professor John Edmunds of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said it was wrong to assume that strangers pose the biggest risk of passing on the virus.

He said: ‘You are most likely to get infected from your household members – and the next most risky bunch of people are your workmates. So if you’ve got elderly parents who are frail, and you’ve got children, you need to tell your parents they need to be careful about their grandchildren… I know that sounds brutal and horrible, but that’s the kind of thing that people need to start to thinking about.’

Professor John Edmunds, pictured, has advised elderly people to be careful about the amount of contact they have with their grandchildren as they are the most likely people to transmit coronavirus to them

He said: ‘I know that sounds brutal and horrible, but that’s the kind of thing that people need to start to thinking about’

Prof Edmunds stressed he was not saying older people should ‘lock themselves away’. Each family would need to come up with its own plan based on their circumstances. Death rates from coronavirus among elderly people are much higher than for the younger and middle-aged. Dr Margaret Harris from the World Health Organisation has also recommended older people keep 10ft away from others.

The Government has indicated it will be introducing further social distancing measures for older and vulnerable people, asking them to self-isolate regardless of symptoms. Ministers hope that if they time the measures correctly, those most at risk will emerge from their homes after herd immunity has built up and will be more protected.


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