A healthcare worker collects a swab sample at the Bengaluru City Railway Station.
A healthcare worker collects a swab sample at the Bengaluru City Railway Station.
— PTI

Bengaluru

Karnataka reported the highest single-day Covid fatalities with 626 patients succumbing to the virus — 362 from Bengaluru alone.

As the deaths have started increasing, 2 Covid-related issues are worrying health experts in Karnataka. Nearly 56% of the deaths due to Covid-19 in the 20-49 age group in Karnataka have occurred in the past two months. Of the fatalities, Bengaluru recorded 2,465 Covid deaths in the 20-49 age group in the past 2 months — March 17 and May 17. The second issue is that over 40,000 kids below 9 years have tested positive in just two months. While Bengaluru took nearly a year to report the first 5,000 Covid deaths, it took just a month — the last 30 days — to add an almost equal number.

The Covid War Room data shows deaths due to Covid increased by 95% in the past 30 days with those below 50 accounting for a sizable chunk. While Bengaluru, as on Sunday, had reported 11,216 Covid fatalities, over 5,000 of them were in the past 30 days alone.

And, of those who died in the past 30 days, over 1,100 were below 49 years. Deaths in the 20-29, 30-39 and 40-49 age groups have seen an increase of more than 100%.

Experts are now wondering if a specific strain is affecting the youths and has called for a detailed study.

During the first wave of Covid, this was not the trend. Health experts say they rarely saw young patients suffering from severe infections leading to fatalities during the first wave. A majority have been found to have sought hospital beds 8-11 days after showing symptoms when the infection had deteriorated from mild to severe.

Breakup of the 20-49 age group from the state war room data shows deaths have rapidly climbed in each category in the past two months though case fatality rates remain less. Doctors say late hospitalisation is contributing to more deaths. Happy hypoxia is one of the reasons. In happy hypoxia the patient, especially youngsters, have low blood oxygen without external symptoms such as difficulty in breathing or fatigue. This occurs 8-10 days after the onset of infection and when they are breathless, there are no ICU beds available.

The second worrisome factor is there has been a sharp jump in the number of children and adolescents testing positive for Covid-19 in the second surge. The number of children aged 0-9 years testing positive in the past two months has jumped 143% of the total infections reported till March 18 this year, while it was 160% in the 10-19 age group.

According to the state war room data, 39,846 children aged 0-9 years and 1,05,044 aged 10-19 years have tested positive between March 18 and May 18 this year. The corresponding numbers till March 18 this year since the pandemic began were 27,841 and 65,551.

The big relief is fatalities have been low. While 28 children died of the virus till March 18 this year, 15 more have died since then till May 18.

While children have suffered, data recorded by the Department of Public Instruction showed 268 teachers from 31 districts of Karnataka succumbed since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020. Of the number, 183 were primary school teachers, 49 secondary school teachers, 32 teachers from primary and secondary sections in aided schools and four headmasters. Data was not available for unaided schools in the state.

Meanwhile, the state on Sunday recorded 25,979 new cases and 626 fatalities.

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