The fearful son of an woman in her sixties in Sunderland battling coronavirus says he fears she will be the next victim of the deadly illness.
The patient from the Pennywell area of the city is currently in a coma after becoming the first person there diagnosed with the virus.
"I just hope she's not going to be the next one to die," her son said.
Authorities confirmed the sixth coronavirus death in the UK this afternoon as the toll rises above 4,000 worldwide.
Many victims are elderly with severe underlying health conditions.
However, the Sunderland woman's son said her descent into a coma had frightened the family.
"Apart from her knees, she's otherwise fit and healthy, so this has shocked us all," he told Chronicle Live.
"We thought she just had a cold and a bit of a chest infection, but on Thursday she was gasping for air and struggling to breathe so she went to hospital and by Friday it was much worse.
"We still just didn't even think it was the coronavirus though, as she doesn't even really leave the house.
"In fact the only time she's left the house in the last two weeks was to go to the doctors, so we don't know know how or where she got it."
He said two members of her family, who have asked not to be named, have been asked to self-isolate.
He, as well as others, say they have been given the all-clear by Public Health England.
The woman is currently in South Tyneside District Hospital and had her diagnosis made public on Monday evening.
Her son said his mum was placed in an induced coma after her health rapidly deteriorated.
He added: "She is no better or worse, it is the machines that are pretty much keeping her alive at the moment.
"I think the staff are trying everything they can, but this is all so new, and so rare.
"It is scary to think 'where has this come from?' and I just hope that she's not going to be the next one to die."
It was the sixth confirmed case in Tyne and Wear to date and Gillian Gibson, director of Public Health at Sunderland City Council, said the authority was doing all it could to stop the virus spreading.
"While we still have a lot to learn about the virus, the advice from the UK Government’s chief scientific adviser is that for the vast majority of people who catch COVID-19, it will be a mild illness," she said.
"The best way anyone can protect themselves and others from the virus is to wash their hands thoroughly and often with soap and water, or use a hand sanitiser, and to cough or sneeze into a tissue, bin it and wash their hands."
While the number of British cases is expected to increase dramatically in the forthcoming weeks as the virus peaks, the outbreak has not yet reached its height in other worse-hit countries.
Italy is in lockdown as it battles to contain the virus, while the number of coronavirus cases in Spain doubled.
The woman's son is now pleading for the public to follow the Government's advice to try and curb the outbreaks – so that as few families as possible have to go through the "nightmare" they had endured over the last week.
He said: "People need to start cleaning their hands and washing themselves as the virus is out there now, and I think within the next week it will get really bad as how do you stop something that is invisible?"
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