Faced with the stark statistic that more than 80 per cent of Covid fatalities are occurring in those aged 50-plus, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has directed all its ward officers to closely monitor the health of this category of patients who are in home isolation and shift them to the nearest dedicated Covid hospital or jumbo centre, if necessary. Civic officials are concerned that though cases are coming down, the daily mortality rate is high and needs to be curtailed.
Data from the state’s public health department shows that the case fatality rate (CFR) for those over 50, who are the worst-hit, is 2.6 per cent this year—13,318 confirmed deaths of five lakh infections. In 2020, 39,192 of nearly 3.5 lakh senior citizens -11.2 per cent - who were infected having succumbed. In the 70 to 80-plus age bracket, the CFR for octogenarians is 3.8 per cent compared to 11.2 per cent last year, followed by 3.06 per cent in septuagenarians (9.3 per cent last year).
Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said that the daily mortality rate in the city has been high in the second wave, following which the BMC had embarked on ‘Mission Save Lives’. Given that there are 4.39 lakh Covid patients in home isolation, civic authorities have directed the medical health officers in each ward to follow up on every patient, especially, those above 50 years of age.
“Older citizens are the most vulnerable to Covid-19. So far, since the onset of the pandemic, 86 per cent of the deaths reported have been among those who are above 50 years of age. Bearing this in mind, we are taking the necessary measures. We have asked all ward officers to check on the health of patients under home isolation and shift them immediately if it’s necessary,” he said.
Kakani further said they were mainly focusing on those above 50, as this category has comorbidities, due to which their immune system is compromised and under home isolation, many health parameters need to be monitored. “The oxygen level in patients above 50 years decreases rapidly. So, we have asked all medical officers of respective wards to check on patients in home isolation and shift them as needed,” Kakani added.
Dr Rahul Pandit, the member of the state covid-19 taskforce, said there was also general laxity in Covid-appropriate behaviour. “Since several senior citizens have been vaccinated, it is possible they were lax in following norms and got infected later. But vaccination will ensure the symptoms are mild,” he added.