Volunteers perform the last rites of a COVID-19 victim in Bengaluru, July 11, 2020. Photo: PTI/Shailendra Bhojak
New Delhi: The Union health ministry’s analysis has shown that nearly half the people who have died of COVID-19 are aged below 60 years.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that 53% of the people who died due to the viral infection are aged above 60. “Also, 35% of the deaths were recorded in the age group of 45-60 years, 10% in the age group of 26-44 years and 1% each in the age group of 18-25 years and below 17 years,” Bhushan said.
On Wednesday morning, India’s death toll due to COVID-19 stood at 1,10,586, with the confirmed tally of cases at 72,39,389.
At the press conference, Bhushan cautioned against any laxity towards taking precautions, adding that respiratory diseases escalate in the winter.
The health ministry’s analysis also shows that about 70% of COVID-19 victims in the country are men and 30% are women.
“About 53% of the victims were aged 60 years and above,” he said, reiterating that elderly people and those with comorbidities are at higher risk of mortality.
The health ministry’s data once again confirms that people who have underlying health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, kidney disease, high blood pressure or cancer are at greater risk of dying due to COVID-19 than patients these comorbidities.
The overall case fatality rate of people with comorbidities stood at 17.9% and for those without comorbidities, it was 1.2%, Bhushan said.
Providing data on the case fatality rate among different age groups – with and without comorbidities, he said in the age group of 60 years and above, the case fatality rate for people with comorbidities is 24.6% and for those without comorbidities, it is 4.8%.
In the age group of 45-60 years, the case fatality rate for those with comorbidities is 13.9%, while for those without any comorbidities, it was 1.5%. Among the patients aged below 45 years, those with comorbidities had a case fatality rate of 8.8%, while it was 0.2% for those who did not have any comorbidity.
The analysis shows that more working-age people are dying in India due to COVID-19 that in other countries. According to The Telegraph, data from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that as of updated on October 7, 21% of the country’s deaths were people who were less than 65 years old.
Analysis by the World Health Organisation found that globally, the highest percentage of cases have been reported in the 25-39 age group, with approximately 50% of cases in the 25-64 age group. “However, the percentage of deaths increases with age, and approximately 75% of deaths are in those aged 65 years and above,” the organisation said on October 4.
“The massive loss of people in the workforce is likely to have devastating social and economic consequences,” Sanjay Mohanty, a public health researcher at the International Institute of Population Sciences in Mumbai, told The Telegraph.
‘Positivity rate declining’
Bhushan also said on Tuesday that there has been a decline in the cumulative, weekly and daily COVID-19 positivity rates, which stand at 8.07%, 6.24% and 5.16% respectively. “The average daily COVID-19 positivity rate has declined from 8.50% between September 9-September 15 to 6.24% between October 7-October 13,” the official said.
Presenting the data, Bhushan said there has been a “significant increase” in testing for COVID-19 and there is a continuous decline in the positivity rate.
On an average, 11,36,000 tests are being conducted on a daily basis.
“Although the positivity rate is declining, it is very important to maintain the high numbers and level of testing,” he said.
Bhushan pointed out that there has been a continuous decline in the number of daily cases over the last five weeks. The weekly average of daily cases fell from 92,830 in the second week of September to 70,114 in the second week of October, he said.