NEW DELHI: Covid 19, unlike most other countries hit badly in the pandemic, is eating up India's workforce, the first-ever systematic attempt at assessing the likely effect of the infectious disease spread on mortality and longevity in the country has shown.
The study by the researchers attached to the International Institute of Population Sciences (IIPS), Mumbai, and others has found that more than 50% of Covid-19 deaths in India have occurred in the 40-64 or 35-64 age groups - the most economically productive ones.
The study also showed that the proportions of death in the age group of 30-64 years add up to 58.5% while it is 53.5% in the age group of 40-64 years.
The study also noted that the case fatality ratio with 14 days delay for India is at least twice higher — at about 8% than the official CFR of 3.2.
“Considering 8% mortality rate and varying scenarios of community infection by 0.5%, 1% and 2%, India’s life expectancy will reduce by 0.8, 1.5 and 3 years and potential life years lost by 12.1 million, 24.3 million and 48.6 million years respectively,” said the study.
It also said that community infection of 0.5% may result in disability-adjusted life years by 6.2 per 1000 population.
“The findings highlight that the pattern of deaths in India is in sharp contrast with developed countries where 70% of the deaths have occurred in the age groups above 70 years,” said Sanjay Mohanty, lead author of the study who is with the IIPS, an autonomous body under the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
“Two key reasons for this are that our population age-distribution is such that the median age in the country is 24 years and therefore more younger people are available for virus transmission than in those countries and also a relatively high prevalence of diabetes and high blood pressure in people above 40,” he said.
The researchers analysed that about 60% of Covid-19 cases are in the age group of 30-64; about 2.3% of deaths are under 15 years, 12.8% are in the 15-44 age group, 48.2% deaths are in the 45-64 age group and 36.8% are in 65+ age group.
“A major share of the Covid-19 deaths is in the working-age group,” says the analysis carried out with data available till May 9 when there were over 65,000 confirmed cases and nearly 2,100 infection-related deaths.
Beyond age 60, the probability of death due to COVID-19 would be at least four times higher among the elderly compared with non-elderly, the study said.
It added that the probability of dying in the 15-60 age group would increase from 0.17 without COVID-19 to 0.19 with 0.5% community infection, 0.20% with 1% community infection, and 0.23 with 2% community infection.