Chloe Middleton: the coronavirus death that wasn’t

The 21-year-old’s tragic death has not been recorded as due to Covid-19.



This week, the news of the heartbreaking death of 21-year-old Chloe Middleton went across social media. She was reported to be Britain’s youngest coronavirus victim with no pre-existing condition. And so her case was quickly held up as proof as to why young people – thought to be too blasé about Covid-19 – should take the outbreak more seriously.

But the Guardian reports this afternoon that her death has not actually been recorded as a Covid-19 death:

Middleton was taken to Wexham Park hospital in Slough last weekend after she had a heart attack. Attempts to resuscitate her failed and she was pronounced dead soon after arriving… A Berkshire coroner said the death was related to Covid-19 after being told Middleton had a cough, the source said. But this surprised medics at the hospital, who have not recorded it as a coronavirus incident.

An NHS source tells the Guardian that ‘the coroner’s move “raised eyebrows” at the hospital because [Middleton] had not tested positive for the disease’.

This shows us the dangers of allowing political imperatives – ie, the need for young people to take this crisis seriously – to get ahead of the facts. Amid this outbreak we need clear-eyed discussion of what’s really going on.

It seems this tragedy was too swiftly leapt upon and turned into a cautionary tale about Covid-19, purely because it aligned with some people’s worst fears. We need to do better.

Picture by: Facebook.

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Michael Byrne

8th April 2020 at 1:18 pm

Her death is a tradegy, any death is awful regardless of the cause but to use it to claim it is deadly to all ages is truly appalling, it causes fear and panick and shows how much the media love headlines rather than present facts. The panick has seen panick buying and poor behaviour. The other death in a hospital claimed she had no underlying health conditions – incorrect she had diabetes and got it from her husband coming back from India. The media is still presenting this as Deadly when there is no evidence indeed a Harvard professor has said it isnt and urged people to stop bulk buying and hoarding masks, he claimed the cruise ship was an ‘unfortunate testing ground’ but it gives indications the virus isnt deadly. Deadly would mean everyone or most who get it die, it is complete rubbish. Raising unnecessary fears and panick is bad and shows complete disreguard for viewers who are very vulnerable and who might interpret things literally and cause mental distress.

John Pretty

10th April 2020 at 11:02 am

I agree with most of what you say here, Michael. But would just ask you to consider this:

“any death is awful regardless of the cause”

This is actually not strictly true. A cousin of my father who was in her sixties died of cancer last year. She was cared for in a home died peacefully. She was apparently completely at ease with her death.

Death (physical death for those who are religious) is perfectly natural and inevitable. Part of the problem is that in technologically advanced cultures we block this out of our minds for much of the time and try to pretend it will never happen to us.

It will.

If we were better prepared mentally for this inevitability of life we might not be panicking so much now.


4th April 2020 at 11:29 pm

That coroner is obviously an agent of the phobocracy.

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