Pakistan posts 90 more coronavirus infections, single fatality

NIH data shows infectivity ratio sliding to 0.61%: India reports 5,664 cases, 35 deaths: Study shows obesity linked to higher risk of Covid infection

By: News Desk
Published: 10:47 AM, 18 Sep, 2022
Pakistan posts 90 more coronavirus infections, single fatality
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Pakistan has diagnosed another 90 people with coronavirus infections while one fatality was reported during the last 24 hours (Saturday), showed the statistics released by the National Institute of Health (NIH) on Sunday morning, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

According to NIH data, the death toll in the country now rose to 30,606 while the number of total infections now stood at 1,571,822 after adding the fresh 90 cases.

During the last 24 hours (Saturday), 14,663 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio stood at 0.61 percent. The number of patients in critical care was recorded at 89.

Meanwhile, the NIH has issued further guidelines for vaccination of young children against Covid-19.

In a tweet uploaded on Saturday, the NIH said in the first phase children between the age of five and 12 are now eligible for coronavirus vaccination. Dose 1 will be administered at the start of vaccination while the Dose 2 will be administered after 21 days of the first dose (not more than 56 days).

The NIH further said that the vaccination is absolutely free and is available at all the vaccination centres. 

India reports 5,664 cases, 35 deaths

With 5,664 new coronavirus infections being reported in a day, India's total tally of Covid-19 cases rose to 4,45,34,188, while the active cases increased to 47,922, according to the Health Ministry data updated on Sunday.

The death count climbed to 5,28,337 with 35 fatalities which includes 21 deaths reconciled by Kerala, the data updated at 8 am stated.

The active cases comprise 0.11 percent of the total infections, while the national Covid-19 recovery rate increased to 98.71 percent, the ministry said.

Obesity linked to higher risk of Covid infection: Study

A study recently showed that having a high body mass index (BMI) is associated with an increased risk of Covid-19 infection and prolonged Covid than having high blood pressure.

The findings were done by Dr Anika Knuppel from the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing, University College London, UK, and colleagues. It was being presented at this year's European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) Annual Meeting in Stockholm, Sweden (19-23 Sept).

"Early in the pandemic research identified diabetes and obesity as risk factors for becoming severely ill with COVID-19. And we know that many people living with type 2 diabetes are also carrying excess weight. Our early findings support the idea that obesity-related mechanisms may be responsible for the excess risks of COVID-19 associated with diabetes, rather than high blood sugar per se," says Dr Knuppel.

Previous research showed that people with diabetes and obesity are more likely to become severely ill and die if they catch COVID-19, but are no more likely to contract it. However, the underlying mechanisms, and their role in prolonged post-COVID-19 symptoms (long COVID), remains unclear.

To find out more, researchers looked for associations between a range of clinical characteristics measured before the pandemic--HbA1c (average blood sugar level), self-reported or medication-based diabetes, body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR)--and self-reported COVID-19 infection and long COVID in nine ongoing UK cohort studies.

The analyses included the most recent measurements (taken between 2002 and 2019) of HbA1c, weight, height, waist and hip circumference from each study as well as information from questionnaires on health and lifestyle.

All eligible participants (maximum 31,252, aged 19-75 years old, 57% female) had data on previous measurements and completed at least one questionnaire during the COVID-19 pandemic (May 2020 to September 2021) covering questions on COVID-19 and, where possible, questions on the length of ongoing COVID-19-related symptoms.

Participants reported having COVID-19 based on a positive test or strong suspicion. Long COVID was defined as symptoms that went on or affected functioning for longer than four weeks post-infection and were compared to those reporting symptoms for less than four weeks.

Where possible, associations were adjusted for sex, smoking, ethnicity, income, and education at the time of measurement.

Between May 2020 and September 2021, 5,806 participants reported ever having COVID-19, and 584 reported having long COVID (around 7% of COVID-19 cases with information on symptoms length).

Analysis of data from 31,252 participants in nine studies found higher BMI was associated with greater odds of COVID-19 infection--with the risk 7% higher for each 5kg/m2 increase in BMI. People with overweight (BMI 25-29.9kg/m2) and obesity (30 kg/m2 or greater) had 10% and 16% greater odds of COVID-19 infection, respectively, than healthy weight individuals (less than 25 kg/m2; see the figure in notes to editors).

Similar results were observed for long COVID (4,243 participants, six studies)--with the risk 20% higher for each 5kg/m2 increase in BMI. People with overweight and obesity had 20% and 36% greater odds of long COVID, respectively. However, for both COVID infection and long COVID associations with categories of BMI were not all statistically significant (so we cannot be sure they are not due to chance).

Analysis investigating the association with WHR were inconclusive.

Notably, studies focusing on average blood sugar level (HbA1c) and diabetes (15,795 participants and 1,917 for long COVID) revealed no association with COVID-19 or long-COVID.

The researchers stress the need for further research to explore the mechanisms underpinning these associations and to reduce the excess risk associated with high BMI. "Our early findings suggest a link of adiposity with COVID-19 infection and long COVID-19 even after taking into account socio-demographic factors and smoking. We need to further explore what makes people with overweight and obesity at risk of worse outcomes and how this relates to severe cases", says Knuppel.

The authors acknowledge that the study was observational and cannot prove that higher BMI increases the risk of COVID-19 infection, and they cannot rule out the possibility that other unmeasured factors (e.g., underlying conditions) or missing data may have affected the results. They also point out that COVID-19 was based on suspicion rather than a positive test, and clinical measurements taken before the pandemic could be outdated for some of the included studies. Finally, they note that study participants were healthier than the general population which may limit the conclusions that may be drawn.