NEW DELHI: The largest and the first full scope analysis of the coronavirus pandemic in India, based on over 1,24,000 patients, has so far found that the average time to death after admission in hospitals in the country is just five days.
In contrast, in the US, most who died of Covid-19, succumbed nearly 13 days after the hospital admission while in China, this duration was upto 2-3 weeks as per the World Health Organisation.
The study ‘Epidemiology and Transmission Dynamics of Covid-19 in the two Indian States’, based on analysis of patients in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh also found that more than half of the fatalities occurred within 6 days after testing and 18 % within 24 hours, implying that a substantial proportion of patients were diagnosed late.
Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have been the two of the worst hit states in the pandemic despite having one of the best health infrastructures in the country. By August 1, till when the analysis was carried out, Tamil Nadu had over 2.6 lakh confirmed Covid-19 cases while Andhra Pradesh had over 1.6 lakh official cases.
For the study, clinical details and transmission dynamics of over 1 lakh patients in Tamil Nadu and more than 22,000 patients in Andhra Pradesh were analysed.
The researchers associated with the Centre for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy, John Hopinks and Princeton Universities in the US and several government institutions in the two states found that the transmission risk from an index case to a close contact does not change with the age of the index case.
This underscores the role of children and young adults in spreading the infection.
While a study in the US has already shown the role of children, this is first from India to nail that pattern here. Also, the research has thrown up the first large-scale data on secondary attack rates in India — 1.2% in healthcare settings, 2.6% in the community, and 9% within households.
Importantly, the findings from the study, published in the prestigious journal Science, also inferred that superspreading events dominate transmission and the contact tracing analysis found that about 83 per cent of infected individuals did not infect any of their contacts, while 5% of infected individuals accounted for about 80% of observed new infections.
Researchers have also shown that unlike age-distribution patterns of mortality in high-income countries in Europe and the US, the deaths in India, in the two states analysed, appear concentrated between 50 and 64 years and the incidence of cases does not increase with older age.
“Reported cases and deaths have been concentrated in the cohorts than expected from observations in higher-income countries, even after accounting for demographic differences across settings,” noted the researchers.
It was also highlighted that the patterns of enhanced transmission risk are strongest in children below 14 years and the elderly above 65 years and likely reflect differences in intergenerational social and physical interactions in India.