Published on April 1, 2021

AHMEDABAD: In March, 109 people succumbed to Covid-19 in Gujarat, analysis of deaths due to the pandemic revealed. The figure is higher than the death toll of January (81) and February (23) combined. February in fact had recorded one of the lowest death tolls in the past one year of pandemic in the state. The total of three months of 2021 (213) was in turn lower than December (317).

However, compared to other states, the mortality rate of Gujarat in March was one of the lowest at 0.3%, meaning death of three positive patients per 1,000 confirmed cases. Among the major states, Punjab topped the tally with1.8% mortality rate.

‘Shift in age group pattern of victims’

Other notable states included Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh (0.6% each), Karnataka and Delhi (0.5% each). Meanwhile, experts opine that the third surge of coronavirus is seeing more younger, working population landing in the hospital ICUs.

During the earlier two surges observed in May-June and November after Diwali, senior citizens were the most affected, accounting for over 40% of the total cases and close to 50% in mortality. But the pattern is changing.

Dr Maharshi Desai, a citybased critical care specialist and member of state-appointed Covid-19 task force, said that the ‘working population,’ generally defined as persons from 25 to 60 years of age group, are now getting more admissions than the earlier waves.

“It surely is to do with the changing virus profile and also the fact that post restrictions, this is the population that went out the most and some got infected. It’s also possible that the higher vaccination among the elderly is providing them some sort of protection,” said Dr Desai. Dr Ami Parikh, HoD (medicine) at SVP Hospital, said that they are witnessing more youths in ICU in recent times. “They were exceptions in the first and second surge, but today about 20% of the patients hospitalized with us are young,” she said.

She cited instances of a 25-year-old girl who is admitted with pneumonia complications. She developed complications within four days of the illness. “She battled moderate illness and fortunately, she has become stable. Another young man in his 20s is battling lung complications too,” said Dr Parikh.

Dr Amit Prajapati, a city-based critical care specialist, said that the surge is to do with ignoring the early signs. “As this wave is more about spread and less about severity, several young patients end up in hospital with high severity when they are already four to six days into infection. In the past one week, we have witnessed 1:3 home care to hospitalization ratio, which was reversed till mid-March,” he said, adding that if the middle-aged patients have comorbidities, chances of them turning severe are slightly higher.

“But good news is, mortality among the young patients is still low. The below 60 years patients we are treating right now have moderate symptoms. But we would advise all not to ignore the new signs of Covid-19 and get themselves tested. The second week is still crucial and if the patient approaches hospital early, chances of the infection getting severe gets low,” said Dr Vivek Dave, a city-based intensivist.

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