Why Is Jammu Reporting More Covid19 Deaths Despite Low Infection Rate?

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SRINAGAR: Three top Kashmir doctors who were flown to Jammu for discussions with doctors and understand the factors responsible for high mortality have submitted a detailed report. They have had interactions with the GMC Jammu principle and all the relevant heads of the departments for an assessment to understand the trend.

Government Medical College, Jammu

“This is slightly complex and we have conveyed it to the government,” one of the three top experts, told Kashmir Life on phone, moments after the interactions were over on Wednesday afternoon. “The health infra is too much centralised in Jammu and then there are a lot of cultural issues in which patients prefer hospital as the last option.”

In comparison to Kashmir, they have pointed out that the infrastructure has a professional spread and protocols are clearly defined and acted upon.

All the three top doctors belonged to SKIMS, one of the major hospitals in Kashmir, against the Covid-19. These included Dr Rafi Jan, the head of the SKIMS Medicines department, Dr Mudassar Qadri, Associate Professor and Dr Mohammad Akbar from the Anaesthesia Department. They have made some quick suggestions about how to decentralise the Covid19 management and how best to maximise the benefits from the existing infrastructure.

Huge Mortality

By May 13, 2021, Jammu and Kashmir has detected 233763 cases of which 143997 (61.59%) are in Kashmir leaving only 89766 (38.4%) for the 10 districts of Jammu.

Of the 52848 active cases, 33902 (64.15%) are in Kashmir and only 18946 (35.84%) in Jammu.

So far, Covid19 killed 2967 people and of them, 1635 (55.1%) were from Kashmir and only 1332 (44.89%) were from Jammu.

Dr Naveed Bashir Runiyal died of Covid-19 in November 2020.

The question being used loudly these days is if Kashmir leads in the overall infections, why the mortality rate is so huge in Jammu? In Jammu, almost 1.48% of people who contract Covid19 die. In comparison, in Kashmir, only 1.13% of people with Covid19 infection have died so far. It is this question that is being asked publicly and, now, even Raj Bhawan is so keen to understand.

Seemingly infrastructure does not seem to be an issue. Across Jammu, the information government reveals every 24 hours suggest, there are 2397 Covid19 beds including 2136 isolation beds and 261 Covid19 ICU beds. There is a vacancy on daily basis.

In Kashmir, however, most of the infrastructure is busy. The 10 districts of Kashmir have cumulative availability of 2723 Covid19 beds including 2590 isolation beds, and 133 Covid19 ICU beds.

What is interesting almost 51.81% of the Covid19 infra is restricted to the city of Jammu. rest of the nine districts have slightly over 48% of the Covid19 infra, right now. In Kashmir, only 39.88% of the Covid19 infrastructure is in Srinagar city and the rest of it – more than 60% – is across nine other districts.

Genome Issues

Offering another peephole view of the crisis that Jammu is facing, Daily Excelsior ran a detailed report suggesting that the Apex Level Advisory Committee has pointed out that the majority of the Covid19 variants and Indian Double Mutant are prevalent more in Jammu than Kashmir.

Dr Rajat Post Graduate (PG) scholar in Department of Radiology at Govt Medical College(GMC) Jammu died of COVID-19

The report specifically mentions about 288 samples, collected by GMC Jammu and sent for genome sequencing. “Of the 288 samples, 70 samples had mutations that were classified as VOC (Variants of Concern) or VOI (Variants of Interest) and/or important mutations. Single mutations were seen in 26 samples, two mutations in 13 samples and multiple mutations in the remaining samples,” the newspaper reported. “Mutation B.1.1.7 (UK variant), which has the potential for increased infectivity and spread in the community, was seen in 23 samples. This mutation is highly prevalent in adjoining State of Punjab as such was imported in large number to Jammu by the travellers”, sources said quoting the findings of the Committee, adding “ten samples had mutations similar to UK mutations with the same signature and have the potential to be more infectious as mutation B.1.1.7”.

It said B.1.617 (Indian Double Mutation) was seen in 7 samples and this is the first variant to have 2 mutations that enable the virus to evade antibodies and increase infectivity. “There were 17 samples with mutations without a linage number but have a signature to have increased infectivity,” the newspaper reported.

Quoting sources, the newspaper reported that genome sequencing of 123 SKIMS samples showed that there was only one sample that belonged to mutation N440K.

“Accordingly, the Apex Level Advisory Committee has pointed out that majority of the variants of the disease and Indian Double Mutant are more prevalent in Jammu region as compared to Kashmir region and has led to maximum COVID-19 related deaths in this part of the Union Territory,” the newspaper reported.

“Unless substantial population gets vaccinated, the worrisome situation cannot be controlled”, sources said quoting the recommendations of the Committee, adding, “immediate vaccination of 30% to 40% population is imperative to effectively fight the pandemic and control the surge”.

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