BENGALURU: Since cases began to rise mid-March, doctors in Bengaluru have observed that people aged 20-39 formed a large proportion of people contracting Covid-19, compared to the pattern in the first wave when more elderly people got the disease.
Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike data showed that between March 17 and 26, 2,408 people aged 20-29 years and 2,547 people aged 30-39 years tested positive.
In comparison, 1,178 people aged 60-69 years and 828 people above the age of 70 years caught the infection.
A combination of factors ranging from increased transmissibility of the virus, to people’s behaviour has led to this situation, doctors say.Consultant for internal medicine at Aster CMI Hospital Dr Brunda said that they wee seeing many people in the 35-40 age group infected by the virus.
“Most of them come in with fever, cold, cough, etc. Compared to the first wave, the transmission rate is much higher. Curbs such as the lockdown restricted the spread during the first wave, along with fear and anxiety of stepping out. But now with the second wave, the availability of the vaccine combined with Covid fatigue and increased movement of people has resulted in an increased transmission rate,” she said.
She also said that vaccination could have resulted in the dip in the number of elderly people being affected. “But since we are seeing a lot of middle-aged people infected by the virus, the government should consider lowering the age bracket for vaccination to 35 years now,” she said.
Dr Aravinda G M, consultant for internal medicine at Manipal Hospitals in Jayanagar estimated a 10-20% rise in patients aged 20-30 years due to increased movement in people of that age.
“Many have gastrointestinal symptoms. People should start being cautious as cases are spiking. The spread of infection is also higher,” he said.
Although the increased spread of the virus among younger people is worrying, Dr Pradeep Rangappa, senior consultant for critical care at Columbia Asia Referral Hospital in Yeshwanthpur, said, “It is not surprising as they move around a lot. With time, vaccines should be made available to them.”
However, regardless of the age of infected people, the number of hospitalisations is still low, Dr Rangappa pointed out.
“But, chances are, that in the next few weeks we will see ICU admissions and hospitalisation go up. We might see a number of deaths as we did in the first wave, but we need to ensure that we do not get into such a stage. We need to start increasing ICU beds. Many hospitals are not admitting Covid patients. The government needs to bring back the centralised (bed-management) system,” Dr Rangappa said.