Young female wearing face mask

COVID-19 Delta Variant Can Hit the Young and the Healthy

Vaccinations are the only way to prevent more tragic deaths in Australia from heart-related COVID-19 complications

5 August 2021
Update 25 Nov 2021: Information from this article was accurate at the time of publishing and reflected the rules/advice announced by governing bodies at that time.

Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute’s Executive Director Professor Jason Kovacic has warned the Delta variant of COVID-19 spreading in Australia has the potential to cause serious infections and complications in younger people.

Professor Kovacic's comments come just days after 27-year-old Aude Alaskar died from what was reported to be COVID-19 complications at his Sydney home. He had no underlying health conditions.

Professor Kovacic said whilst it was important to note his death was very rare, it highlights the speed at which health can deteriorate, even in the young, and that the heart is susceptible to the disease.

According to reports, Mr Aude Alaskar died “suddenly” at his home, less than two weeks after being diagnosed. His family say his heart “just stopped”. The cause of death is yet to be confirmed but it’s thought he suffered a cardiac arrest.

Professor Kovacic sends his condolences to the family of Mr Alaskar and says, although he doesn’t know the specifics details of this case, there are a number of potential cardiovascular complications that can occur from COVID-19.

Professor Kovacic says: “These include myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle), heart failure, heart attack, heart rhythm problems and blood clots to the heart or to the lungs.

“The Delta strain is significantly more transmissible than earlier strains of COVID-19 and appears to have the potential to cause more serious infections and complications in younger people.

“Earlier in the pandemic, we typically did not see young people without underlying health issues die as a result of COVID-19. Unfortunately, while still rare, we now appear to be seeing more of these cases where the Delta variant of COVID-19 has serious consequences in younger and healthy individuals.

“It is also important to note that we have much less experience with the Delta variant, and we need more data about how it affects the heart compared to earlier strains of COVID-19, and more importantly, how it affects young people.”

Professor Kovacic also highlighted a positive development regarding the condition myocarditis, which causes the inflammation of the heart muscle.

Whilst there has been concern that certain mRNA-based vaccines against COVID-19 can actually cause myocarditis, a very recent observational study has shown that young males infected with the virus are up to six times more likely to develop myocarditis as opposed to those who received the vaccine. Also, the myocarditis that occurs after vaccination appears to be fairly mild.

Professor Kovacic adds: “It’s important to note that the risk of dying at home from sudden cardiac arrest, a blood clot or a rhythm issue is still incredibly low, especially for those who have no underlying health issues.

“But given the highly infectious nature of the Delta variant of COVID-19, these recent deaths underscore the importance of vaccination, which will be the most effective way to prevent more heartbreaking tragedies such as these.”

Acknowledgement of Country

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present.

Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute - The Home of Heart Research for 30 Years