The government has claimed that the older population continues to remain more vulnerable to coronavirus infection during the second wave. According to the Centre's data, more than 70 per cent of the patients in both the waves have been above 40 years.
Dr VK Paul, member (health), Niti Aayog and Dr Balram Bhargava, director-general of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said data coming from the ground showed that young people contributed roughly the same caseload to the current outbreak like the one that ravaged India last year. Paul said in the first wave 31 per cent of patients were aged less than 30 years and this time it was up to 32 per cent.
"If we look at age profiles, we will see in the last year people under 30 years contributed 31 per cent of the cases and now it is 32 per cent, so essentially there is no difference. There is no overarching excess of young people becoming Covid positive," said Paul.
ICMR chief Bhargava said they analysed the data of about 9,485 patients who have been admitted and found that the average age was 50.4 years in the first wave and 48.9 years in the second wave. Additionally, co-morbidity is slightly higher in the first wave that is 54.9 per cent and in the second wave it is 48.6 per cent, Bhargava said.
Bhargava said oxygen requirement is higher in the second wave while ventilator requirement is not higher.
Prevalence of shortness of breath was slightly higher in the second wave of COVID-19 but symptoms like sore throat and dry cough were higher in the first wave, he said.
"Shortness of breath among patients is found to be slightly higher in the second wave as compared to the first. However, other symptoms like fast breathing, dry cough, sore throat, loss of smell, weakness of limbs, chills, joint pain, fatigue, muscle aches and headache were found to be higher in patients in the first wave. Shortness of breath was found in 41.7 per cent of patients surveyed in the first wave as compared to 47.5 per cent in the second wave," he said.