NEW DELHI: A doctor from the Geriatric department at AIIMS has urged the prime minister to frame policies to safeguard elderly officials from coronavirus, noting they are vulnerable to infectious diseases and that there is a direct correlation between mortality and age.
While lauding the tireless efforts of the PM to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, Dr Vijay Kumar Gurjar, an assistant professor said some employees in vulnerable group like healthcare workers, police officials, defence personnel, sanitation workers, administrators and politicians who have conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes or kidney ailments do not have a strong immune system and thus are more vulnerable to infectious diseases.
"There is a direct correlation between mortality and age. These people are more likely to get acute respiratory distress syndrome, the acute lung injury that is causing many of the deaths.
"But it seems the virus is also more likely to affect the heart than any similar viruses, so they are actually seeing people dying from heart attacks who have COVID-19," Dr Gurjar wrote in his letter.
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"We are aware of the fact that outcomes will depend not only on the robustness of the health system, but also the average age of the country. In many instances a single sick person was exposed to around 100 health workers so they had to self-isolate. Most of them recover but if someone with co-morbidities gets infected it would be fatal for them" he said.
Gurjar also cited examples of late Dr John L Sailo Ryntathiang, the 69-year-old founder of Bethany Hospitals, late Anil Kohli ,52-year-old Ludhiana assistant commissioner of police (ACP) who succumbed to this illness and said its evident that age with multiple illness is the most common risk factor.
"We as society and government really just need to take care of our seniors as you mentioned in your address to the nation by changing our behaviour and policies for two to three months.
They should not be asked to retire or quit from jobs as we know they are competent enough to serve the nation but should be asked to socially isolate themselves," the doctor said.
He underlined the need for prioritising human resources by using them judiciously and avoiding unnecessary exposure of senior officials.