As India reels under a disastrous second wave of the novel coronavirus, there have been notable cases from the young population affected by this deadly virus. There have been various districts in the Indian states reporting many cases from the age below 30.
Joint Secretary in the Health Ministry Lav Agarwal states such as Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Punjab, Assam, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, and Tripura were among 16 states and union territories exhibiting a continued rising trend in daily fresh cases of coronavirus. In contrast, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana were among 18 states and union territories displaying continued plateauing in daily new cases of the novel coronavirus.
The chief of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Dr Balram Bhargava, mentioned that the rise in Covid cases across the country is primarily because younger people are getting slightly more affected. After all, abruptly, they have stepped out, and there are variants also existing in the nation, which may affect them.
Earlier in March, the Central government had declined reports of a shift in age groups. It said 31% of people impacted in the first wave of 2020 were under 30 years, while the percentage grew to 32 in 2021.
As per reports on mortality data by the Union health ministry, since the beginning of the pandemic till December, those below 45 consisted of 60% of the infections. However, this age group was not the one to sustain the most deaths because of the virus. Nearly 55% of those who died of Covid-19 were above 60 years.
The worst-hit state Maharashtra which has been showing a few recovery signs, had those people below the age of 40 accounting for 48% of cases between January and March this year, more or less in regards to the age data reported till November 2020. In Karnataka, 47% of those tested positive for the virus between March 5 to April 5 were between 15 to 45 years, which seems to be similar to last year.
Last month in April, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said 65% of Covid-19 patients in the city-state are below the age of 45 years. He did not offer comparative data for last year. According to the Delhi doctors, they are seeing more younger patients in regards to the previous year.
Head of the department for critical care medicine at Holy Family Hospital, Dr Sumit Ray asserted, “October and November had mostly elderly people, now it is mostly people in their 30s.” He added that among these younger patients, the most common comorbidity is obesity, diabetes and hypothyroid.
Health department data of hospital deaths in Delhi’s suburb Gurugram registered 235 Covid deaths in this period, which is approximately 40% of the overall toll (599 till May 10) since the first death that took place on May 10, 2020. Of the 235 who succumbed to the novel coronavirus infection, nearly 50% (117) were between 21 and 40 years old (53 between 21 and 30, 64 between 31 and 40).
Dr Shiba Kalyan Biswal, consultant (pulmonary) at Narayana Hospital, mentioned that last year during the first wave of the novel coronavirus, young individuals were witnessed to be less affected. She further said a chunk of this group somehow unknowingly procrastinated treatment (during the current second wave). If patients report in the ‘out of the window period’, their condition becomes critical, and chances of recovery are less. Although, Covid can be equally dangerous for every age group, depending on their symptoms.
A government official in Chhattisgarh stated that more younger patients were infected, but they were also more severely infected than last year. He said, “We are seeing more deaths among those who are above 30 years, more deaths of those without comorbidities.”