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Data accessed from 34 hospitals across the country show that 70 per cent of over 1,100 Covid-19 patients are in the 50 plus age group. Between 30 to 40 per cent of these hospitalised patients are senior citizens aged 60 plus.
Outlook accessed the patients’ data from 28 branches of Fortis hospital across the country, three branches of Yashoda Hospital in Hyderabad. Masina Hospital and Saifee Hospital in Mumbai and Artemis Hospital in Gurugram.
Senior doctors from these hospitals say that there is no significant difference in the age profile of the hospitalized patients as compared to the first wave that had peaked in September last year.
However, they admit, this time as of now, the severity of infection seems to be lower and recovery is faster.
“The second wave is less virulent to date. During the first wave, 50 per cent of hospitalized patients were in the Intensive care unit (ICU). But this time during the second wave, this number is much less,” Dr Bishnu Panigrahi, Group Head, Medical Strategy and Operations, Fortis Healthcare, said.
He added, “Contact tracing of patients shows that younger people are super-spreaders this time. They are largely asymptomatic or have mild symptoms but they are spreading it to the elder members in the family.”
As of April 5, 851 patients were admitted in 28 branches of Fortis Hospital and according to Dr Panigrahi, 78 per cent are above 45 years of age.
“Out of a total 107 patients, 50 per cent are above 60 in our hospital,” said Dr. Deepesh G Aggarwal, consultant physician and head of department of Critical Care Medicine of Saifee Hospital.
Dr Lingaiah Amidayala, Director, Medical Services, Yashoda Hospitals Group, Hyderabad says that in the first phase the hospitalization duration was longer but “this time around the hospital length of stay is not so long so far. The average period of hospitalization is 4-5 days.”
“Our experience says that in the first phase senior citizens were more than the younger ones but this time I can see younger patients getting admitted in the hospital too,” Dr Amidayala added. All the doctors are quick to put a disclaimer with their comments as they say since Sars-Cov-2 behaves unpredictably, the situation that prevails in hospitals today might not remain the same tomorrow.
The first wave had reported the highest single day-active cases of 97,894 on September 17 and the highest single day of 1247 patients on September 18.
As the second wave is in progress, the daily active cases have touched 1 lakh 26 thousand on April 7 but fortunately, the daily death hovers between 400 to 700.
Thus, if viewed along with the trend among hospitalized patients, the daily mortality data also indicates that the second wave is milder.
Though the health experts working with the various government research bodies have contradicted the view that the second wave is milder. They say it is too early to say so.
Dr VK Paul, Member, NITI Aayog, in a press briefing held on April 7, viewed that since Covid-19 proves fatal to a patient after a few days from contracting the virus, it is too early to say that the second wave is a milder one.
Dr Manoj V. Murhekar, Director, National Institute of Epidemiology, a government research body under the Indian Council of Medical Research, has a similar view.
Many health experts also complain that though the Health Ministry releases daily active cases and death numbers, it doesn’t give the age-wise break up of daily active patients or those who have lost their lives.
“If we get the age brackets of daily active patients, hospitalized patients, and dead patients, it will be easier to conclude the severity of the second wave,” a senior doctor working with a government hospital said.
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