“This virus is terrible, it can hit young people, in particular obese young people. Those who are overweight really need to be careful,” Delfraissy told franceinfo radio.

“That is why we’re worried about our friends in America, where the problem of obesity is well known and where they will probably have the most problems because of obesity.”

Delfraissy said 88% of those infected with the coronavirus suffered only severe flu-like symptoms.

The mortality rate for young people entering hospital with severe COVID-19 respiratory disease was about 2%, he said, but that rose to 14% for people who are more fragile.