New Delhi: With government advising people to take all necessary precautions to help contain the spread of coronavirus, health experts said that elderly and people suffering from pre-existing medical conditions like hypertension, diabetes, heart problems, etc. are at higher risk of getting contaminated with the deadly virus.
According to the Union Health Ministry, the two patients, who tested positive for COVID-19 succumbed due to 'co-morbidity'.
What is 'co-morbidity'?
In medical terminology, co-morbidity is the presence of one or more additional conditions co-occurring with a primary condition.
Talking to ANI, Dr Vikas Maurya, Head of respiratory medicine department at Fortis Hospital said: "The study done by China on coronavirus patient showed that elderly people were high-risk patients. It was found that 19 per cent of patients who lost their lives in the hospital were also had diabetes and hypertension. Hence, those patients who already have pre-existing diseases like hypertension, cardiovascular problems, diabetes, and weak immunity need to be extra careful about their health."
On Friday, a 69 year- old-female died at RML hospital in the national capital due to coronavirus infection. The patient got the infection from her son who had recently returned from Italy.
"The initial medical report pointed out that the patient was already suffering from co-morbid conditions, diabetes and hypertension when she developed COVID-19 symptoms. Her condition deteriorated rapidly and she could not be saved despite the best medical efforts," stated the Union health ministry report.
Also, the death of a 76-year-old- male from Karnataka infected with COVID-19 is confirmed due to co-morbidity.
Dr Ashish Jaiswal, Delhi-based chest medicine specialist, said: "COVID 19 resembles a lot to seasonal flu. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the majority of flu-related deaths and hospitalisation is of the people who are above 65 years of age. COVID-19 has shown a similar pattern and the two patients that India have lost their lives were above the age of 65 years."
Dr Raman Kumar, president of Academy of Family Physicians India, added that as per the largest study published on COVID-19 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the average mortality of COVID-19 is 2.3 per cent which rises steeply to 15 per cent in patients above 80 years of age.
"These studies have made it pretty clear that the elderly and people with pre-existing co-morbid conditions are at the highest risk to develop serious COVID-19 infection," said Kumar.
"The very first preventive message is that anyone who is having long-standing fever with symptoms of cough and sneezing should consult a doctor immediately. Patients with co-morbid conditions should be alert as they are more vulnerable to catch the infection," Dr Rajan Sharma, national president, Indian Medical Association (IMA) told ANI.
Dr Sharma said that IMA has started an initiative for public awareness on coronavirus and 24x7 helpline.