A Department of Health analysis of 18,541 people who have tested positive for Covid-19 in West Bengal since the state started coming out of a prolonged total lockdown in June has found that 56.5 per cent of them are between 16 and 45 years old, most of them men.
Among these patients, 29.3 per cent are in the 16 to 30 years category, 27.2 per cent are between 31 and 45 years, 23.7 per cent are between 46 and 60 years, while 12.9 per cent are between 61 and 75 years category. Only 3.7 per cent are younger than 16 years, and 3.2 per cent older than 75.
More than 75 per cent of the cases were from Kolkata; its adjoining districts North 24 Parganas, Howrah and South 24 Parganas; and Hooghly.
A senior health official said, “It is evident that after the Unlock period started Covid cases increased in huge numbers in these five districts. This was mainly because of professionals coming to Kolkata from the four other districts, and all are in the age group of 16 to 60 years. To continue their family’s earning, they came out of home and contracted Covid infection.”
Renowned virologist Dr Suman Poddar said, “From the beginning of the coronavirus infection, these age groups are most affected. Children are mostly carriers, and they are not coming out of home because schools were closed at the start of the lockdown. In foreign countries, people over 60 years are also productive and dynamic. In India, we basically do not work after 60. Also, these people are mostly stuck in their homes in the post-lockdown period too. So, the chance of them catching the infection decreases.”
According to the survey, 71 per cent of those affected are men. “This also resembles the nature of our society. In our society, most working people are men, and thus they are prone to the infection as they are coming out mostly. One portion of the young generation is also reckless. They did not maintain social distancing, and other preventive norms. That also caused more positivity in this age group,” Dr Poddar added.
Epidemiologist Dr Subarna Goswami said, “This survey proves that the virus did not move. Those who are moving by force or by choice they were infected. In the period when the survey happened mostly affected persons were migrant labourers who came back home from different states. They are also mostly young people. This was reflected in the survey.”
According to the experts, sporadic lockdown may reduce the infection rate for the time being, but will not stop the infection.
“We have to take care of our own. We should maintain social distancing, hand hygiene, wear masks, and follow other precautionary norms to avoid infection,” Dr Goswami added.
The state health official said, “We should also enforce the norms that have to be maintained to avoid the infection. Otherwise, we won’t be able to stop the increasing rate of infection among youngsters.”
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