Even though the surge in recent COVID19 infections that have been attributed to the Omicron variant, which has been labelled as ‘Milder’ than the ones caused by the Delta variant, the rising death tally is triggering concerns among the general population.
Drug Today Medical Times spoke to experts across the city to understand this apparent anomaly.
Most of the deaths caused by COVID19 infections currently are occurring among unvaccinated and elderly populations with underlying comorbid conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes, chronic kidney and heart condition, patients undergoing treatment for cancer and organ transplantation, the experts say.
“Most of the patients who are dying due to COVID19 have underlying comorbid conditions; we have to remember that the infections caused during COVID19 are systemic in nature and it impacts the whole body in such patients, thus resulting in deaths, Dr Ujjwal Parakh, Senior Consultant, Department of Chest Medicine in New Delhi’s Sir Ganga Ram Hospital said.
“These patients always remain at higher risk of getting hospitalised and consequently higher risk of death and this phenomenon can be seen across the globe this time,” Dr Parakah added.
Pointing out that it would be wrong to label COVID19 infections caused by the Omicron variant as mild, Dr Parakh said, “Coronavirus infection caused by the current dominant variant can be milder; however, it can trigger a wide range of complications for those who already have existing ailments”.
"The infection will remain mild in healthy individuals and they can recover as well but when a person with poor kidney function or has heart disease and has been bedridden for months get infected, poor immunity will hamper his ability to fight COVID19 than a normal individual. Such patients will always remain at higher risk to any infection not only COVID19," he explained.
Dr Anshuman Kumar, a noted Surgical Oncologist, Dharmshila Hospital, Delhi, pointed out that maximum COVID19 related deaths have happened in sixty or over sixty years of age. Most of the deaths are being reported among those who have associated diseases like uncontrolled diabetes and any previous lung problem."
“In such situations, patients develop pneumonia early and need ventilation support and are more likely to die. All the death may not be due to COVID19 per se because as we have seen in many cases, patients recover from COVID19, but develop secondary infections like septicemia and die,” Dr Kumar explained.
Emphasising that COVID19 deaths are occurring mostly among unvaccinated patients with comorbid conditions, Dr Nikhil Modi, Senior Consultant at the Department of Respiratory Critical care and Sleep Medicine of Apollo Hospitals, Delhi, said that the deaths are happening mostly in the elderly population.