Patients over the age of 45 years, who form 25% of the country’s population, account for 85% of India’s Covid-19 deaths, the Union health ministry said on Thursday as it asserted that the country has been able to manage the outbreak “relatively well” with cases and deaths per million of the population here among the lowest in the world.
The findings about the age-wise distribution of deaths due to the coronavirus disease in India are in line with what scientists have observed about the global trends of the disease — it is disproportionally fatal for those who are older. Officials, however, did not release any data about breakup of cases based on gender and comorbidities.
Senior government officials, during the firstCovid-19press briefing by the health ministry in nearly a month, also reiterated that India has not yet reached the community transmission stage and said that there have only been “localised outbreaks in some geographical areas”.
“There may be some localised pockets where transmission is high but as a country, there is no community transmission in India,” Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said separately on Thursday after chairing 18th meeting of group of ministers on Covid-19.
The health ministry press briefing came a day after India saw the largest single-day spike in Covid-19 cases with 25,724 new infections on Wednesday, the first time more than 25,000 new cases were reported in 24 hours. As of Thursday night, 794,117 confirmed cases of Covid-19 had been detected in the country and 21,577 people had died, with 25,871 cases and 441 deaths being reported on Thursday, according to HT’s Covid-19 dashboard.
Government data showed that 85% of all people who have died due to Covid-19 in the country were over the age of 45 years. People between the ages of 60 and 74 years, who are only 8% of the population, form the largest proportion of fatalities — 39%. Those older than 75 (2% of India’s population) account for 14% of the total Covid deaths.
At the other end of the spectrum, people under 14 years of age (35% of the population) make up only 1% of all Covid deaths in the country, and those between 15 and 24 years of age (18% of population) constitute 3% of fatalities. Those between the ages of 30 and 44 (22% of population) account for 11% of Covid deaths, the government said.
This is the first time in two months that the government has released an age-wise breakup of fatalities in the country. The data released on May 1 showed that of the 51.2% who died were above the age of 60, 42% between 60 and 75, and 9.2%, above 75.
“In spite of a population of 1.3 billion people, India has been able to manage Covid-19 relatively well,” Rajesh Bhushan, officer on special duty, Union health ministry, said.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) report, India has 538 cases per million population while it is at least 16-17 times more in some countries, he said. “We have 15 deaths per million population, whereas we have countries