Post-Onam Covid spread: Younger generation more at risk

Representative image: IANS

Onam festivities are over. But not the grim reality that the state is bracing for a fresh spike in Covid cases. Hence it is important to take appropriate measures to contain the infection spread.

Last year, Onam was celebrated at the fag end of August. On Thiruvonam day state had then reported 2,154 fresh cases and seven deaths on August 30. A week later, the graph took a steady climb with over 3,000 Covid positive cases and 12 deaths on September 8. It further climbed to 11,755 fresh cases and 23 deaths on October 10, before showing a gradual decline of daily cases and death rates.

A year later, this festive season has a handful of both positive and negative factors. The emergence of the super-spreader Delta variant is said to be the biggest challenge in combating the virus. Public gatherings, both large and small, can trigger a spurt in infection rate post-Onam, especially when study shows the incubation period of the virus has come down now. This explains why the daily fresh cases on August 24 have already shot up to 24,296.

The fast progress of vaccination coverage is indeed a positive sign. So far, 68 per cent of the population has received the first dose and 24 per cent the second dose. The infection would only be mild and non-fatal In vaccinated people, whatsoever. Since 88 per cent of people above 45 years of age has received the shots, the younger community stands at an elevated risk of contracting the viral infection,

In the majority of the cases, the symptoms in young patients are bound to be less intense, prompting them to advocate for home quarantine. But they have their share of issues.

Coronavirus can get more dangerous and turn suddenly aggressive in people with comorbidities, taking into account the fact that Kerala has a sizeable population of youngsters with lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, blood pressure, and lung ailments, cancer and allied health complications. Such patients are advised to seek treatment from Covid care hospitals immediately. Those under home care have to regularly keep a vigil on the oxygen level in the blood using a pulse oximeter. They are urged to take a six-minute walk without pause before testing the oxygen level, and if it fails to satisfy the required measure, they are advised to take medical help without fail. Even a non-diabetic can check the blood sugar level once in a while using a glucometer as 66 per cent of the state's population is in prediabetes stage.

The health department has beefed up arrangements to meet any exigency and increased the facilities in Covid hospitals in view of the sudden surge in cases. And last but not the least, the importance of the public strictly following the Covid protocol, including avoiding social gatherings, is paramount to rein in post-Onam infection rate.

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