Even as the city recorded over 1,200 Covid-19 cases on Thursday, the maximum after June 30, data released by the BMC has revealed that the pandemic has impacted the elderly population the most.
From June 1 to August 16, 101 patients succumbed to the virus, with 70 older than 60 years, 27 in the 30-59 age group, three under-30 years and one nine-month-old infant. Though most of the deceased were fully or partially vaccinated, they also had severe comorbidities, doctors have said.
As per the BMC’s mortality figures, senior citizens have remained the most vulnerable group throughout the three waves of the pandemic. As per available data, a majority of those who succumbed across all age groups had diabetes and hypertension, which led to severe symptoms and made recovery difficult. Underlying diseases have also been linked to prolonged hospitalisation and oxygen requirements, and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) admissions, according to doctors who have been regularly treating Covid patients.
A senior doctor from a civic-run hospital said that in this Omicron-driven third wave, increased deaths have been observed among the elderly, some of whom have been fully vaccinated. One of the reasons for this is the presence of associated comorbidities, which leads to a poor outcome.
The doctor added, “The elderly do not mount a robust immune response to even two doses of the vaccine due to a physiological decline in the function of the immune system. Moreover, whatever neutralising antibodies they do manage to develop with vaccination, wane over time.”
Senior consultant for internal medicine and infectious diseases at Nanavati Max Super Speciality Hospital, Dr Hemlata Arora said that managing the underlying condition effectively is the first step to preventing deaths. She added that families and physicians must start treatment immediately if such an elderly patient is infected with Covid or flu.
Dr Manjusha Agarwal, senior consultant for internal medicine at Global Hospital, said in the last two years, it has been seen that senior citizens with co-morbidities are more likely to get secondary pneumonia, cardiac failure, and severe weakness due to Covid. The doctor said that vaccination with a booster dose is important for seniors.
Dr Avinash Supe, the head of the state Covid-19 death audit committee, said that most of those who died in the city had comorbidities or had delayed treatment. However, more than 80 per cent of recent deaths were of those partially or fully vaccinated.