Health Desk – 10 Apr, 2021: More young adults getting infected with coronavirus has been a worrying sign in recent weeks, experts said.
While most of the people dying are old, health officials believe it is the young people who are giving the virus to older and more vulnerable people.
According to the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), 68.8 percent of the people who tested positive for coronavirus on April 5 were aged between 19 and 48 years.
Twenty-seven percent infected were aged over 49, it said.
IEDCR does not compile age-based data regularly, but its officials said the rate of infection among young adults has been over 60 percent in recent weeks.
On the other hand, yesterday’s bulletin from the Directorate General of Health Services showed 80.73 percent of those who died with Covid-19 were over 50.
Young people getting out and about are contracting the disease and putting their vulnerable family members at risk, IEDCR officials said, adding that the elderly people do not often leave their homes frequently.
“Homes are a perfect place for transmission because we don’t follow the health rules there. The young adults violating the health rules get infected and then they spread the virus to the older family members,” IEDCR director Tahmina Shirin said
Since the people aged below 40 have yet to be inoculated, they are at greater risk, she said, adding that this could be another reason behind the surge in infection and deaths.
“If we fail to restrict the movement of young people, the number of deaths of the elderly will not be lowered.”
Besides, the UK and South African variants of coronavirus are more contagious and can infect younger people, experts said.
The younger people are more mobile and are engaging in more activities, and that’s why more of them are contracting the disease, they added.
According to IEDCR data, 60 percent of the Covid-19 patients have a history of visiting markets and using mass transport.
Over 30 percent of the patients attended rallies, seminars, other public events, and went to a mosque or temple.
IEDCR adviser Mushtaq Hossain said, “Basically people of this age group have jobs and businesses. They are physically active. They go to offices, use public transport and often do not bother wearing a mask.”
Prof Sayedur Rahman, chairman of pharmacology at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, pointed out that the number of tests have increased.
“The daily tests dropped to around 5,000. But nowadays about 32,000 people get tested each day. More and more young people are getting tested. Besides, our young people outnumber every other age group,” he said.
A complete lockdown that resembles a curfew is needed to cut the rate of transmission, he added. “It will reduce people’s mobility and eventually curb transmission.”
In early April last year, less than 50 percent of those tested positive were young. But only a month later, the percentage rose to 70. The number of reported deaths also increased at the same time, according to IEDCR data.