Three out of four people in Kashmir who lost life to COVID19 in Kashmir were 60 years and above, mostly with co-morbid conditions. Doctors say while the victims were confined to their homes because of their ailments, they got infected by others in their family.
Out of the 78 deaths attributed to COVID19 in Kashmir, 54 have been people aged 60 years and above, official data reveals. 24 deaths have been in people aged 70 to 80 years, the maximum for any age group. The youngest person to die of the viral infection in J&K has been a 15 day old infant, while 23 others aged less than 60 years have also died, their cause of death stated as COVID19 infection. Six people aged 30-40 years have become victims of the viral disease that has claimed 88 lives in J&K till date.
Out of all, only eight people, as per J&K Health Department data, did not have any underlying disease. The most common underlying ailment in those who succumbed has been hypertension and diabetes, although a considerable number of people with heart ailments, cancer and other conditions have also lost life to the virus.
Doctors have expressed concern at the trend of high risk population, the elderly and those with underlying diseases, losing life to COVID19. “In keeping with the trends seen worldwide the highest mortality is of course observed in older adults and those with comorbidities,” Prof Parvaiz A Koul, head department of internal and pulmonary medicine at SKIMS and an influenza expert said. He however said that it was imperative that the younger population exercises infection control to safeguard the health of their kith and kin who may not be able to fight the infection off as well as they can.
“The younger infected ones fight the infection off better and remain asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, but can end up infecting the older adults with co-morbidities. In them the infection can turn fatal,” he said.
Many doctors have noted that those who succumbed to viral disease were those who would not have been outdoors due to their sickness or age. “They pay the price for the restlessness and complacency of the young,” a senior doctor said.
Dr Naveed Nazir Shah, head department of pulmonary medicine at GMC Srinagar warned against mistaking ease in lockdown as an “ease from epidemic”. “We are still in the midst of an epidemic and the young, who are on the move for work, studies or other engagements have a responsibility towards those back home,” he said. He said that immune-compromised people can fall to the infection quite easily in comparison to others. “Therefore, people must use masks to prevent infection which they may not even notice in themselves,” he said.
Dr Shah said COVID19 does not cause “cough, cold, fever and other symptoms” in all people who are infected with it. “But they can still infect others if they do not exercise caution,” he cautioned.