CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu recorded a whopping 921 COVID-19 deaths in the last ten days, which accounts for 22 percent of the total toll in the state, which is now 4,241.
While the state had been recording close to 100 deaths daily of late, on Monday it touched a new high of 109 deaths.
Among those who died in the last 10 days, 848 people (92 percent) had comorbidities. Of them, 457 (54 percent) had diabetes and 366 (43 percent) had hypertension.
The comorbidity ratio also indicates that those with diabetes are more prone to succumb, while the majority of the deaths have been due to COVID pneumonia, viral pneumonia or viral pneumonitis, all of which refer to an infection in the lung.
“Diabetes and hypertension are metabolic syndromes which compromise a person’s immunity to fight an infection,’’ says Dr Anantha Subramanian, pulmonologist at Kauvery Hospital.
Dr Subramanian says that 30 to 40 percent of diabetic patients would also be obese, which accelerates the risk when they get pneumonia. He added that uncontrolled blood sugar levels could pose more risk.
Experts say that the data gives a window to understand that diabetes is a burden in the community and it is time for better wellness programs, especially in the work culture.
Dr Subramanian Swaminathan, Infectious Diseases Specialist at Gleneagles Global Health City, says diabetes is a bad outcome for any disease.
“People nowadays get diabetes as early as 40 years. Moreover, undiagnosed diabetes adds to the bad outcomes, as many get diagnosed for diabetes only when they come as COVID patients,’’ says Dr Swaminathan.
He says that it is advisable for people aged above 35 to test their blood sugar levels, so they could be aware of their conditions and avoid complications.
While the number of deaths have been high in the past ten days, the mortality rate is only at 1.5 percent in the state, as cases too have been high, close to 6,000 daily.
However, experts say that irrespective of the low mortality rate, the reason for the high number of deaths needs to be introspected.
“We need to focus on why COVID deaths are happening and who are the people that are dying,’’ says former Director of Public Health Dr K Kolandasamy.
Dr Kolandasamy says that along with COVID-19 tests, BP check-up, sugar test, oxygen level test, temperature check, and chest X-ray must be taken to find out if patients have obstructive pulmonary diseases.
“Normally, chest X-ray is done only after the person tests positive. Results take between 24-48 hours and that period is enough for complications to accelerate. So, multiple diagnosis at early stages
could be an apt intervention to prevent deaths,’’ he adds.