Karnataka: Younger population not as immune as believed | Bengaluru News – Times of India


BENGALURU: Close to 700 youngsters under the age of 40 have died of Covid-19 in Karnataka, making up 9% of the deaths so far, reflecting the findings in the west as well that the younger population is not as immune to the disease as thought earlier.

The disease, that was believed to be fatal only for the elderly with comorbidities, has killed 16 children under 10 years; 35 aged 11-20; 165 aged 21-30 and 479 aged 31-40.
As of September 16, Karnataka’s toll from the disease stood at 7,536; the fatalities jumped in the 40-50 age bracket to 1,057.
Dr Ravindra Mehta, chief of pulmonology at Apollo Hospitals, said the initial understanding of Covid-19 came from China and then from Italy where many senior citizens died. “However, when the virus affected the US and the UK, it was quite clear that younger people too were getting affected. Obesity, hypertension and diabetes in the younger population can make them vulnerable. Even if they don’t have comorbidities, people without robust immune reaction also get into trouble,” he said. “Fortunately, we don’t have many children among the affected.”
Low fatality rate
Mehta explained that low immunity and exuberant immune response can both pose challenges in Covid. Which is why presenting early to the healthcare system is important. “Waiting at home until symptoms worsen may lead to the immune system going haywire, leading to further complications.”
A total of 2.7 lakh people under 40 have been diagnosed with Covid as of September 16 — making up 56% of the total caseload. Hearteningly, the fatality rate in this age group is barely 0.3%.
A 23-year-old diabetic from Bengaluru, who died after contracting the infection on June 12, refused to get admitted to Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital while submitting his samples even as his symptoms worsened. When he was confirmed positive two days later, health staff had a tough time in tracing him and bringing him to hospital. He died within hours of admission.
Dr S Sacchidanand, vice-chancellor of Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences and head of the state’s Covid-19 death audit committee, said Covid-19 fatalities can occur in any age group.
“Covid fatalities occur due to the severity of infection. The disease can affect the lungs, neurological system or the kidneys. It can happen to anybody but the process is hastened if a person has comorbidities. It’s not that the severe conditions cannot occur in the younger age group. It depends on the severity of infection, viral load, individual immunity and a lot of other factors,” he said.
“There are no specific drugs for SARS-CoV-2 and the treatment given now is empirical therapy. When there is specific treatment available, at any point of time, infection can be controlled. One of the major reasons for deaths is late presentation to the hospitals,” he said. “If there are early signs and symptoms, one can get admitted. The diseases progress rapidly and on the 4th or 5th day, they can develop complications and that can be prevented with early diagnosis.”

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Sagar Biswas

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