Published on March 19, 2021

First anniversary of the first two cases of Covid-19 in Gujarat

AHMEDABAD: A year ago when coronavirus pandemic held Gujarat hostage to unprecedented disease and death, it was believed that the elderly and those with comorbidities having pre-existing illnesses like diabetes, obesity, heart disease etc were at a higher risk of succumbing to the viral infection.

Analysis of 4,427 deaths in Gujarat from beginning of the pandemic last March 19, 2020, till March 16, 2021, has revealed that Covid-19 currently keeps no such differentiation based on the comorbid conditions.

In fact, 49% of the 4,427 deaths had single or multiple comorbidities. Against this, 51% people who died had no comorbidities with 23% having no risk factors as well.

According to the state health department officials, the international norms identify age, race, gender, etc. as risk factors. “If we see Gujarat’s analysis of the deceased patients, we see that over half the deaths (53.1%) have been recorded in 50-79 years age group. In fact, 60% or six out of every 10 deaths recorded in Gujarat are from the patients above 50 years of age,” said a state health department official.

But change is apparent when one compares the first five months of the pandemic with the rest – while almost all other categories have witnessed a dip, the 18% rise is recorded in ‘no comorbidity with risk factors’ group – from 10% to 28%. The experts point at age as a major risk factor as major reason due to relatively lesser resistance to the viral infection.

Infectious diseases specialist Dr Atul Patel said that the local trend is in sync with those witnessed in the US where younger people are now succumbing to the virus.

“The biggest trigger for deaths in health or patients with comorbid conditions is the fact that Covid-19 triggers immune dysregulation which makes leads of uncontrolled inflammations turning the body’s immunity against itself. This can prove equally risky in healthy patients,” said Dr Patel.

He said that subject to availability of the Covid-19 vaccine, it should be opened for all to safeguard larger population against the virus.

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