By: Rachel V Thomas
New Delhi: For Vijay, a 32-year-old healthy working professional in the national capital, testing positive for Covid-19 was bad news.
Within no time, the symptoms became severe with respiratory complications, and his family rushed from one hospital to another earlier this week to find a ventilator bed but to no avail. Critical, he passed away on Thursday, leaving his near and dear ones bereaved.
As a lethal second Covid wave hits people in all age groups, including children below age 12 and even infants, those between 30 and 45 years of age, who were spared last year, are now falling victims amid acute shortage of ventilator beds in the national capital and beyond, according to health experts.
The novel coronavirus that has gone through several mutations is hitting healthy adults with some kind of a vengeance.
The second surge swung into action in March: From about 15,000 new cases per day in the beginning, it reached around 55,000 fresh cases a day towards the end of the month.
By April 1, active cases in the country touched 610,927, from 165,000 just a month ago.
In the last 24 hours, India reported over 2 lakh new Covid-19 cases, the biggest single-day spike ever, according to the latest Health Ministry data. The overall number of confirmed cases stands at 1,40,74,564.
“In phase 2 of Covid starting March 2021, the impact seems higher in young adults,” Ramakanta Panda, VC and MD at Asian Heart Institute, Mumbai, told IANS.
“This time, the virus is more infectious and is spreading fast. The young adults are at utmost risk primarily because they haven’t had their doses of vaccine and are being exposed to the wave as they step out for work,” added Rajesh Chawala, Senior Consultant, Pulmonary Medicine, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi.
Besides lack of vaccinations for the group, carelessness and Covid-related inappropriate behaviour — not wearing masks and not adhering to social distancing measures — are the major reasons behind the 30-45 age group getting affected more, the experts noted.
The symptoms that were prevalent last year were high-grade fever and persistent fever, cold, cough and rapid deterioration of oxygen levels.
In the second wave, the symptoms are more wide ranging.
“This time, we are seeing symptoms like stomach upset, pain in the abdomen and eyes, which were not seen last time,” said Umar Zahoor, Head (Emergency), Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, New Delhi.
During the first wave, the virus was known to attack more on the lungs. However, the second surge seems to be affecting other organs as well.
“Joint pain and stomach-related symptoms have now emerged, which prove that Covid is affecting more organs than before. There are also gastrointestinal symptoms like loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea, etc,” said Panda.
“We hardly know about the disease and it is possibly the strain that is causing more infection this time,” added Zahoor.
Beginning January 16 this year, India has administered over 114 million coronavirus vaccine doses across the country to date.
The jabs have been administered to healthcare and frontline workers, and for those between the age of 45 and 59, but the next high-risk category — under the age group of 30-45 — is yet to be notified for the Covid jabs.