Mumbai News

Covid-19 in Mumbai: ‘Elderly vulnerable, but can be treated too’ – Times of India

MUMBAI: The Chinese experience that Covid-19 is most harsh on the elderly, and especially those with underlying conditions, seems to hold true in Mumbai as well.
The four patients admitted in Kasturba Hospital from two suburbs are over 60. While the husband-wife pair are 72 and 68 respectively, the third patient who was shifted from P D Hinduja Hospital on Friday is 64-year-old man with a heart condition. His wife has also tested positive.
Elsewhere, two senior citizens died in Karnataka and New Delhi from complications arising out of Covid-19.
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A study published in The Lancet a few days ago showed that 54 of the 191 patients admitted to two hospitals in Wuhan province of China – the epicentre of the pandemic – were senior citizens. The average age of the victims was 69. More men than women died of the disease, and those with underlying health condition were especially susceptible. The study said previously, older age has been reported as an important independent predictor of mortality in SARS and MERS. A senior doctor said the age-related weakening of the body’s immune system is one of the simplest explanations.
Civic doctors advised caution for senior citizens, but reminded treatment can be successful. “While there is no need to panic, they must remain vigilant. Studies may have shown that the elderly or those with underlying health conditions such as hypertension and diabetes are more susceptible but that doesn’t mean they can’t be treated,” said Dr Yashashree Keni, Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme officer for coronavirus control in Mumbai. She added that studies coming out of China have shown that over 80% of infected individuals have recovered, while only 14% were severe and 5% critical.
Dr Shashank Joshi, dean of the Indian College of Physicians, said that the rate of infection at present is very low and not at all a cause for panic. However, if the pandemic hits hard, the authorities’ priorities at the moment seem all wrong. “The focus seems to be on closing schools when it is well known that children are not as vulnerable as senior citizens and those with conditions such as diabetes and hypertension,” said Joshi, pointing out that the focus should be on providing appropriate care for senior citizens and people with chronic health problems.