MUMBAI: Apart from the massive spike in daily cases, another reason to worry for Maharashtra is that more children and youth are getting infected with Covid-19 during the second wave. There is a silver lining, though. The death rate in under-45 population during the January-March period was only 5 per cent. According to the state public health department’s data, 88,827 children up to 10 years of age had tested positive across the state in the three-month period.
The total percentage of children and youth (up to 40 years) infected was around 48 while the percentage of senior citizens (above 60) testing positive was 18 per cent. Hence, the state has been pressing for including all age-groups in the vaccination coverage.
The mortality rate of 1.92 per cent in Maharashtra is higher than the country’s average of 1.33 per cent.
Dr Avinash Supe, member of the state’s health task force, said children and youths are getting infected in larger number because they are not following Covid-appropriate behaviour. He said that from January to March-end, 800 deaths took place due to Covid in Mumbai and adjoining areas of which only five per cent were below the age of 45 while the remaining were senior citizens and co-morbid patients.
“Nevertheless, people should take care, use mask, maintain social distancing and wash and sanitise their hands regularly,” said Dr Supe. State Congress president Nana Patole demanded that all persons above 18 years of age should be vaccinated to reduce further spread of the disease. “The youth have to come out of their homes for the purpose of livelihood. So, it is the responsibility of the Centre to vaccinate them. If this age-group is vaccinated, the chain of the virus will be also broken easily,” Patole said.
He also criticised the central government over vaccine export. “We are facing a shortage of vaccine in India, but the Modi government is offering vaccine to Pakistan, that too free of cost. We Indians should be vaccinated first before others are given,” Patole said.