The continuing spike in number of coronavirus cases has put the spotlight on infection rate among young adults this time around. India incidentally recorded more than 1.26 lakh cases in the last 24 hours and states are working overtime to figure out what could be the best antidote to prevent the infection from spreading further.
What is extremely worrying is the fact that many young adults in their 30s and 40s are being admitted to hospitals with comorbidities.
Recently, five student hostels at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee in Uttarakhand have been sealed and declared Containment Zones after 60 students tested positive for Covid-19 over a span of two days.
Down south in Telangana, nearly 30 students from three medical colleges in the state have been asked to go home as their peers have got infected.
Looking at the rising graph of the second Covid-19 wave, many colleges and schools have also been asked to continue with online classes for now to mitigate the risk of infection.
While a few states and union territories including Delhi, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu have announced the closure of schools for an indefinite period, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, and Punjab, among others, have suspended physical classes for a brief period.
Data from the union health ministry reveals that 79,688 children have been infected in five states affected worst by the virus.
As per official data, 60,684 children have been infected with Covid-19 between 1 March 1 and April 4 in Maharashtra. Of these children, 9,882 are under the age of five years.
Dr Suresh Kumar, Medical Director, Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital, said mostly young adults, pregnant women and children are getting infected this time. “The current wave of Covid-19 is spreading faster than last year. Last week 20 patients were admitted to our hospital, today there are 170 patients. The demand for beds is also increasing. We have increased 1000 beds at our hospital,” he informed news agency ANI.
A Covid-19 survivor himself and a 6-time plasma donor, Dr Fuad Halim believes that governments should start vaccinating young people too.
“Chances of young adults contracting COVID-19 is higher than people above 50 years of age due to their social life. People between the age group 20 to 45 frequently go out to meet others. Ease in restrictions allowed them to go to offices, restaurants, private spaces, and parks. They became carriers and now the result is in front of all of us – India is breaking all the records with each passing day,” said Dr Halim.
“Centre and state governments have to work together to chalk out a strategy to ramp up the vaccination, not only for old age people but also for young adults,” he added.
Senior health expert, Dr. Mohendra Minocha said that vaccination for adolescents will be a safer option to bring the situation under control. “Traveling in close spaces leads to spread the virus quickly. Attending rallies, going to private parties, hotels, parks would increase the chances of getting exposed to the deadly virus. Government should start vaccinating young adults too,” he said.
The scene is not much different in other countries as well.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said hospitals are seeing more and more younger adults in their 30s and 40s who are being admitted with severe cases of Covid-19.
“Data suggests this is all happening as we are seeing increasing prevalence of variants, with 52 jurisdictions now reporting cases of variants concern,” Walensky told while addressing the media on the current pandemic.