India’s chronic disease burden fuelled Covid waves

As per researchers from India and California, high levels of chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension in India has fuelled the brutal coronavirus waves.

Highlights

  • Findings from large-scale studies of Covid-19 highlighted that, patients from southern district of Madurai had higher risk of dying as compared to those in China, Europe, South Korea and U.S.
  • India also faced an escalating non-communicable disease crisis because middle-class population in India is expanding and leading sedentary and affluent lifestyle.
  • Affluent lifestyle in India makes them susceptible to ailments like diabetes and heart disease that results in almost two-thirds of all deaths across the country.
  • Existing conditions of diabetes and heart disease have allowed the coronavirus to do more damage, increasing the cases and fatalities. It is also fuelling near collapse of health system in India.
  • It also finds that; hypertension and diabetes actually predict acquisition of Covid-19. If India had half the diabetes and hypertension cases that it currently has, second wave would have impacted on a lesser side.

Death Rate during second wave

Researchers noted that, the death rate was 5.7% among Covid-19 patients having at least one existing health condition as compared to 0.7% in patients who were otherwise healthy. Data was studied on more than 400,000 people who were tested for RT-PCR in Madurai during India’s first wave.

Underreporting of cases

Researchers noted that, there were mass underreporting of Covid cases and deaths in India after it assessed the ratio between infections & fatalities and number of people in Madurai. According to the results, testing found only 1.4% of infections while just 11% of the expected deaths were detected.

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