THERE is evidence that the increase in cases of Covid-19 in Ludlow and south Shropshire is being driven by a rise in the number of young people getting the virus.

Whilst it is older people who are much more likely to become seriously ill or die if they get the disease, younger people are thought to play a significant role in the spread as they are more socially active and more likely to be either mildly unwell of have no symptoms to suggest that they are unwell.

In March, April and May by far the biggest group being diagnosed with the virus were people over the age of 80.

In April 132 people over 80 out of every 100,000 had been diagnosed with Covid-19 and in May it was 157.

The proportion of older people affected by the illness remains high with 194 out of every 100,000 aged 80 or more having tested positive for the disease.

But there has been a big jump especially in those aged between 20 and 64 years.

In November 269 in every 100,000 people aged between 20 and 34 had had a positive diagnosis, the figure for people aged 35-54 was 228 and 158 for people aged between 55 and 64.

But the dramatic increase has been in younger people with 113 cases in October per 100,000 for those aged between 10 and 19 and 153 in November.

Experts say that children without other medical conditions are very unlikely to become seriously ill but the number of positive diagnosis for those aged up to nine was zero in March and remained in single figures through to October.

In November it had rocketed to 74 per 100,000. An issue is that children are more likely to spread the illness because they are less likely to follow and understand the need for social distancing.

What is not clear is the extent to which the figures represent a true picture as in the early stages testing was confined to people who became ill and were hospitalised so probably that many cases went undiagnosed.