More returnees, respiratory disorders, weather conditions contribute to increased Covid-count in Valley
The Valley has fared worse than the Jammu region, which also has 10 districtsUpdated: Jul 11, 2020 15:16 IST
Apart from the large number of returnees in Kashmir, population, lifestyle diseases and weather conditions are responsible for the spike in Covid-19 cases and deaths in Kashmir valley, which has comparatively fared worse than the Jammu region.
Both regions have 10 districts each. As per the 2011 census, Kashmir has a population of 69.1 lakh and Jammu a population of 53.50 lakh.
Till Thursday, Kashmir had recorded 140 deaths and Jammu 14 deaths. Similarly, the Valley had recorded 7,504 positive cases and Jammu 1,997 cases.
With a testing rate of 25,000 per million and a doubling rate of 22 days, the Union territory, which has six Covid-testing laboratories, has done remarkably well in tackling the Covid-19 infection.
Kashmir director health services Dr Samir Mattoo said, “Essentially, the people returning to Kashmir are far more and our testing rate is also very high. These are the basic reasons responsible for the increase in Covid-19 cases in Kashmir.”
He, however, also said that weather conditions in Kashmir were also different from Jammu.
“In Kashmir, respiratory diseases are also more and of course smoking can also contribute to it,” he added.
Another senior doctor in Jammu said, “Different factors are responsible for fewer Covid-19 infections and deaths in Jammu as compared to Kashmir. The population of Kashmir is more than Jammu and its climatic conditions are different from Jammu. Lifestyle disorders are also higher in Kashmir. According to a study, their cholesterol levels are high and more people in Kashmir smoke as compared to their counterparts in Jammu,” he said.
DOCTORS OBSERVE INCREASED PREVALENCE OF PULMONARY DISEASE
The doctor referred to a 2018 report published in Lancet, an international medical research journal, which brought the growing prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in J&K to the fore.
The report had put J&K among the four top states and UTs in India with ‘alarming prevalence’ of respiratory diseases.
‘THE SMOKING CAPITAL’
In J&K, over 4,750 people per lakh suffer from COPD. Besides air pollution, the report had put the onus on a ‘staggering’ rate of smoking among the people.
In 2015, the Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI) had said in its report that J&K was fast emerging as the smoking capital of north India. At the time, J&K’s cigarette consumption was 12%, almost double the nationwide prevalence of 5.7%.
It had recorded tobacco sales worth Rs 5,530 crore over seven years up to 2017-18.