Elderly people at high risk of corona infection

Mohammad Al Amin

18th May, 2020 10:15:13 printer

Elderly people at high risk of corona infection

Elderly people, especially those above 60 years, are at very high risk from COVID-19 as majority of the fatal cases came from that age, according to health experts.

Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) said a total of 23,870 coronavirus infected patients have been detected in the country until Monday after testing 1,85,196 samples, while there were 349 deaths.

According to Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), among the confirmed death cases in the covid-19 disease, 88 percent are 41 to 60 years old and above. 

The IEDCR in its latest report on Monday said 19 percent are 41 to 50 years old, 27 percent are 51 to 60 years old and 42 percent are 60 years old and above.

“In death analysis of COVID-19 patients, we have found that the maximum number are senior citizens. We have to pay special attention to elderly people to keep them protected from covid-19 disease during this pandemic,” said Prof Dr Nasima Sultana, Additional Director General (administration) and in-charge of Director General of the DGHS.

She suggested senior citizens to stay at home and not to go to any public gatherings and follow hygiene.

In Bangladesh, many senior citizens died of coronavirus infection already while some eminent personalities of the country including National Professor Dr Anisuzzaman, who led the country in many crisis periods, also succumbed to the deadly virus. Two renowned doctors Maj (retd) Abul Mokarim Md Mohsin Uddin and Prof Col (retd) Md Moniruzzaman also died of covid-19.

The infection rate is higher among the young people in the country though the percentage of death is lower than aged people. Though the infection rate is low among the senior citizens, they have so far been the worst victims of the virus in the country.  

Until May 18, the total number of Covid-19 positive cases was 23,870 and of them, eight percent were 11 to 20 years old, 26 percent were 21 to 30 years old, 24 percent were 31 to 40 years old, 18 percent were 41 to 50 years old, 13 percent were 51 to 60 years old and eight percent were 60 years old and above, according to DGHS.

Showing people who are at higher risk for severe illness, the US CDC said COVID-19 is a new disease and there is limited information regarding risk factors for severe cases. Based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

“Based on what we know now, those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are People 65 years and older and people who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility,” it added.

People of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including people with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma, people who have serious heart conditions, people with severe obesity, people with diabetes, people with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis and people with liver disease.

People who are immune-compromised, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications, the US CDC said.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), older people, and people of all ages with pre-existing medical conditions (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, or cancer) appear to develop serious illness more often than others.

It suggested staying home if possible, wash hands often, keeping space between each other (stay 6 feet away, which is about two arm lengths) in a bid to reduce risk of getting sick.

 In a statement Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe said first, people should emphasize that while older people are at highest risk from Covid-19, all people, at all ages, need to act in solidarity to prevent the further community spread of the virus.

“Some of the reasons older people are greatly impacted by COVID-19 include the physiological changes associated with ageing, decreased immune function and multi-morbidity which expose older adults to be more susceptible to the infection itself and make them more likely to suffer severely from COVID-19 disease and more serious complications,” the statement added.

Addressing regular online health bulletin, Dr Nasima on Monday said one thousand six hundred and two new coronavirus infected patients have been detected and deaths of twenty one more people have been confirmed in the last 24 hours.

Among the deceased, 17 were male and four female, she said adding that, five of them were between 61-70, eight within 51-60, six between 41-50 and the other two between 31-40 years old.