Coronavirus: 76% of infected are male, 63% of dead over 60 years old, govt says

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Of the total 109 COVID-19 related deaths in India till Monday afternoon, 63 per cent were of people over 60 years. Further, 86 per cent of those who died had co-morbidities (additional medical conditions), such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, etc.

An analysis of 4,067 COVID-19 cases by the health ministry has revealed that more men than women contracted the disease, and died too. Among the COVID-19 positive cases reported, 76 per cent are men; of the dead, 73 per cent were men.

While amongst the dead, senior citizens accounted for 63 per cent, they comprise just 19 per cent of the 4,067 COVID-19 positive cases till Monday afternoon.

According to the health ministry’s latest update on Monday, the total number of COVID-19 cases stood at 4,281 (319 cured, 111 deaths) compared with 3,577 the previous day.

A total of 1,01,068 samples were tested till Monday 9 pm, the ICMR said. Dr R R Gangakhedkar, Director of Epidemiology, ICMR, said the Council was capable of conducting 25,000 COVID tests per day ‘if we start working double shift’. About five lakh testing kits have been ordered.

Replying to a question about the stage of the outbreak in India, Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Health Ministry, said India was currently between stages two and three — local transmission and community transmission. ‘For limited cases, we are doing cluster containment; localised community transmission means there are more cases in those areas, and we are focusing on them.’

The analysis of 4,067 cases also shows that 30 per cent of those dead were in the 40-60 years age bracket, and just 7 per cent under 40 years, suggesting a strong correlation between age and mortality risk. This has also been the global experience.

In a statement, the health ministry: ‘As of now, 86% death cases have exhibited comorbidity related to diabetes, chronic kidney issues, hypertension and heart related problems. Although 19% confirmed cases have been reported among the elderly, since 63% deaths have been observed among them, elderly people form a high risk population. Further, though 37% deaths are reported from people below 60 years, approximately, 86% of deaths amongst people with co-morbidities indicate that young people with co-morbidities are also at high risk of COVID-19.’

So far, 1,445 cases (about 35%) have been linked to the Tablighi Jamaat. Also, 25,500 people associated with the organisation have been placed under quarantine.

Meanwhile, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla asked all states to keep the supply of medical oxygen smooth and hassle-free. Medical oxygen has been included in the national list of essential medicines.

Government sources said the ministry of pharmaceuticals was assessing the availability of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) domestically, before it could consider lifting a ban on its export. US President Donald Trump had requested India to supply HCQ. At present, there is no plan to use HCQ as a preventive medicine for the entire population. It is meant for use among health workers and those at home caring for a COVID-19 positive patient.

With several states reporting shortage in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supplies, the health ministry said along with domestic supplies of 20,000 coveralls, a total of 1.90 lakh coveralls will be distributed to hospitals. This will be in addition to the 3,87,473 PPEs currently available. India also received 1.70 lakh PPE coveralls from China. The government estimates it may need 15 million PPEs by June.

About two lakh domestically-produced N95 masks are being sent to hospitals. Over 20 lakh N95 masks have already been supplied by the Centre. About 16 lakh N95 masks are available in the country, and a fresh supply of 2 lakh masks is on the anvil. India will need 27 million N95 masks by June, according to estimates.

‘Supplies are being sent to states with higher number of cases such as Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Delhi, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Rajasthan. Supplies are also being sent to central institutions like AIIMS, Safdarjung and RML hospitals, RIMS, NEIGRIHMS, BHU and AMU,’ the health ministry said.

Northern Railways has also developed a PPE coverall. This is in addition to the PPE coveralls and N95 masks developed by DRDO earlier. Efforts are on to start mass production of these products.

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