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India's COVID-19 Mortality at 3.3%: Health Ministry

India's COVID-19 Mortality at 3.3%: Health Ministry

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Nearly 75% of all COVID-19 linked mortality in India is among those above the age of 60, shared the Union Health Ministry in its daily coronavirus briefing on 18 April, once again highlighting the risk the disease carries for the elderly. Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary with the ministry shared the breakup of India's COVID-19 mortality as follows:

  • Overall Mortality: 3.3%

  • 0 - 45 age group: 14.4%

  • 45 -60 age group: 10.3%

  • 60 - 75 age group: 33.1%

  • 75 plus age group: 42.2%

Highlighting the risk of co-morbid conditions, Agarwal noted that nearly 83% of those who died had co-morbid conditions.

Once again highlighting the numbers linked to what some are calling India's 'super spreader' incident, he said that of the 14378 cases in India (as of April 18), 4291 or 29.8% were linked to the Nizamuddin event. In some states like Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Telangana, UP and Andhra Pradesh - 50 -60 % of cases were linked to the same event. These states are also among the top 10 states in terms of positive cases.

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HCQ study in India is a Cohort Study: Says ICMR

Multiple questions have been raised repeatedly to the Health Ministry and Indian Council of Medical Research on the recommendation to use the anti malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a prophylactic. The questions being asked are - is this based on a study conducted on the drugs efficacy as a prophylactic? FIT has previously reported on the problems with this recommendation. ICMR finally shared some details about the studies they were carrying out related to the drug.

Replying to a question about the nature of the study on the drug Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) that is being carried out in India, Dr Raman R Gangakhedkar, chief scientist of ICMR, clarified that the study was not a trial - but a cohort or observational study. He said that a total of 480 people on HCQs will be studied. The study period will last around 8 weeks to 2.5 months.

A separate study was being carried out among those healthcare workers (HCWs) who were already on HCQ. Sharing some observations, he said the average age of these healthcare workers was 35 years. In terms of side-effects noted the following:

  • 10% had some form of abdominal pain

  • 6% complained of nausea

  • 1.3% had hypoglycemia

Of those studied, 22% had some co-morbid conditions like diabetes, blood pressure, respiratory disease. Pointing out lapses on part of these HCWs, he said that 14% had not taken their ECG (to check for impact on the heart).

Dr Gangakhedkar also said that 2 studies around the drug were ongoing at Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) - one on its use as a prophylactic and the other as a therapeutic treatment.

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