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Coronavirus death: First Brit death – what underlying symptom could increase risk of death

Coronavirus has now affected every walk of life on the planet. N95 masks are everywhere, people are spending more time at home, events are being cancelled and even the latest Bond film has been delayed for release. It has just been announced that the first Brit coronavirus death has occurred with the number of affected sitting at a staggering 116. What makes one more susceptible to death from the coronavirus?

The Royal Berkshire NHS Trust have announced that a patient in their hospital has passed away.

Last night, they had tested positive for coronavirus.

The hospital said the patient had underlying health conditions which led to their death. The patient had contracted the virus in Britain and health workers are now scrambling to track down everyone they had come in contact with.

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A statement from The Royal Berkshire NHS Trust from a spokesperson said the patient had previously been “in and out of hospital for non-coronavirus reasons” but had tested positive last night.

The statement read: “Sadly, we can confirm the an older patient with underlying health conditions has died.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: How the virus affects the heart – experts weigh in

Coronavirus death: Latest Brit death – underlying health issues that increase risk of death (Image: Getty Images)

“The patient has previously been in and out of hospital for non-coronavirus reasons, but on this occasion was admitted and last night tested positive for coronavirus.

“The family has been informed and our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.

“We will not be commenting further and ask that everybody respects the family’s privacy.”

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No one knows exactly how or why the coronavirus leads to death in a small percentage of patients.

Based on previous viral illness’, experts hypothesise that the difference between a lethal infection and one that feels like a bad cold probably hinges on the interaction between the virus and a person’s immune system.

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Those with an already weakened immune system are most at risk of contracting the virus and it potentially leading to death.

Other reasons could be those living with heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Coronavirus death: The deadly virus has caused widespread panic (Image: Getty Images)

How the virus could potentially kill a person?

While the virus attacks and kills cells in all cases, serious illness depends on how one’s immune system responds to the infection.

This response can be influenced by a variety of factors including one’s age, gender, genetics and any other underlying medical conditions.

The initial damage caused by the virus can trigger a powerful and counterproductive overreaction by the immune system itself.

What the expert said

Virologist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Matthew Frieman said: “What you get is the initial damage and rush of inflammatory cells, but the damage is so extensive that the body’s immune response is completely overwhelmed which causes even ore immune response, more immune cells and more damage.”

Virologist at the University of Kansas, Anthony Fehr added: “If the virus replicates very quickly, before your body has a chance to try and prevent it with an immune response, or if the immune response comes in too late, then it can’t control the virus and starts going berserk.”

Signs and symptoms of the deadly virus include fever, cough, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. Leading health experts believe the majority of those passing away from the virus are those that are older and weaker and that it comes down more to biology rather than lifestyle.

The age-related death risk therefore reflects more to do with one’s strength or weakness of their respiratory system.

In the latest development, the NHS has called for people returning from anywhere in Italy to self-isolate if they believe they have symptoms of covid-19. 

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