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88% of COVID patients dying in Kashmir comorbid; late reporting pushing fatality numbers: Study

Srinagar: Alarm bells have started ringing after a new report has revealed that the majority of COVID related deaths occur within 48 hours of admission to hospitals in Jammu and Kashmir.

The pandemic has claimed over 203 persons so far, of whom 185 are from Kashmir division and the rest are from Jammu. For the last three weeks, there has been an unprecedented surge in Covid-19 cases in the valley.

 

A latest mortality audit report compiled by the Health and Medical Education Department has revealed that the majority of deaths occur within 48 hours of admission.

“88 percent of the deaths resulted in patients with co-morbidity while 12 percent of deaths were without comorbidities,” reads the report.

The report further points out that the most vulnerable age group is 61 to 70. The death rate, however, in J&K is 1.6 percent which is below the national average of 2.8 percent.

Dr. Rehana Kaunser, Epidemiologist, Kashmir said the audit report indicates that patients report late to hospitals and the doctors are unable to help them in their morbid state.

“Most deaths are occurring in patients with comorbidities like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases, Hypertension, Diabetes, Chronic Kidney Diseases, etc. Most of the patients have multiple comorbidities,” she said.

Professor of Surgery, GMC Srinagar, Dr. Iqbal Saleem said the data implies that the downhill course is very fast. “It means that the medical staff does not get enough time to help the patients as they expire within a short time,” he said.

He noted that the virus has become more lethal. “If we had gene sequencing (Genetic makeup of virus), we could find the difference between the current mutation and the earlier variant,” he said.

Similarly, a senior doctor at SMHS said the disease is very severe with a rapid course of worsening especially in elderly patients. 

“Delay in proper care due to lack of ventilators can aggravate the situation. Augmentation of the facilities in the healthcare set-up is much needed right now,” he said.

He cautioned that patients should report early to the hospital if they develop respiratory symptoms.

“It is better that you stay indoors unless necessary, prevent unnecessary interaction with people outside the home, maintain social distancing, use masks when going outside and stop visiting hospitals for unnecessary reasons,” he said.