Dr. Amitav Banerjee
COLUMN/ THE WRITE LINE
There has been a sudden death outbreak due to heart attacks amid the recent Navaratri festival, most dramatically during the traditional Garba dance in Gujarat. The tragic victims include teenagers; the youngest being a 13-year-boy, a rather rare occurrence in this age. A total of 10 people succumbed to sudden deaths within 24 hours in Gujarat on October 23, 2023.
More concerning is that there have been increased reports of a sudden death outbreak and heart attacks across the country, and even across the globe, since early 2021 after the worldwide roll-out of mass vaccination against Covid-19.
Festivals bring up these unfortunate events in clusters, drawing our attention, as a large number of vulnerable people are exerting themselves at the same time. It is likely that silent tragedies may be occurring in a staggered way over a longer period of time, escaping our notice. Large data sets from many parts of the world suggest so.
ICMR on sudden death cases
The health minister was quick to refer to a vague hospital-based ICMR study, which has no relevance to sudden death outbreak among young people, including teenagers. Quoting this study, which has followed patients in 31 hospitals who were mostly old and had comorbidities, the health minister advised those who have recovered from a severe bout of Covid-19 to avoid physical activity for one-two years in order to prevent heart attacks.
Also, a prominent cardiologist from Gujarat gave a sweeping statement, implying that these heart attacks were linked to Covid-19 infections. The ICMR study does not mention anything about the sudden death outbreak among the young and healthy.
It would throw more light on these unfortunate deaths if a study addresses the phenomena of sudden deaths among the young and teenagers. If there is such a study, the health minister should have specifically referred to it. Thoughtless comments without supporting evidence ill behoves a leader.
Sound science using our much-touted digital platform can offer a quick insight into this phenomenon. On the CoWin portal, we can use the Aadhaar or mobile number to retrieve the vaccination status of those succumbing to sudden deaths, and then compare that with the vaccination status of healthy control. This will give the odds of a victim having been vaccinated for comparison with that of a healthy control. The higher the odds ratio, the more likely the vaccine is the culprit. And for a better estimate of risk, if any, from the vaccine, we can follow the future health events among the vaccinated and the non-vaccinated again using the CoWin portal.
With our data dividend, we can guide the world. The hard data used rigorously can save young lives in the highly unlikely event of the “safe and effective” coronavirus vaccines causing these tragedies.
Most of the world population has been vaccinated against the coronavirus disease. Denial is a psychological defence mechanism to cope with inconvenient truths. The unnatural sudden death outbreak the world over is being rationalised by attributing them to “long Covid”, and not to the vaccines.
Unfortunately, large data sets from across the world show disconcerting trends. Population level trends from Australia offer the opportunity to tease out whether “long Covid” or the “experimental vaccine” is the likely reason behind these sudden death cardiac phenomenon.
Data is not reassuring. Australia, due to its stringent measures, almost had no Covid-19 outbreak. It had only 1,000 cases of Covid in the whole population by December 2021. After the roll-out of mass vaccination, there were 2,172 emergency cardiac events among those in the age group of 15-44 years, up from a baseline of 1,300, an increase of 67%.
Across all age groups, Australians had a 37% increase in cardiac events. What is most concerning is the very high incidence of cardiac events in younger age groups, 67% increase among those in the age group of 15-44 years, compared to 37% increase across all age groups.
Sudden death outbreak in Europe
Similar trends of increasing cardiac events and deaths in the young are reflected in data from many European countries. British politician Andrew Bridgen, during a speech at the UK parliament, said, “We’ve experienced more excess deaths since July 2021 than in the whole of 2020. Unlike the pandemic, however, these deaths are not disproportionately of the old. In other words, the excess deaths are striking down people in the prime of life but no one seems to care. I fear history will not judge this house kindly.”
In addition to the data trends, there are hundreds of published reports of adverse events following Covid-19 vaccination in peer-reviewed medical literature, mostly pointing to myocarditis and damaged heart among the young. Ignoring these elephants in the room, and diverting attention to non-relevant ICMR studies among the old and people with comorbidities, or jumping to conclusions that all such events are due to “long Covid” is irresponsibility on the part of political leaders and medical negligence on the part of eminent cardiologists.
Science requires a detached view, without psychological denial or jumping to conclusions. Similarly, people in important positions should refrain from making or supporting irresponsible statements without weighing the evidence first. Sadly, we continue to have shoddy science from doctors and irresponsible statements from leaders. Sloppy science causes more harm than good. At stake are young lives.
(Dr. Amitav Banerjee was a field epidemiologist for over two decades in the Indian Army. He led the mobile epidemic investigation team at the Armed Forces Medical College in Pune, India, from 2000-2004. During this period, he investigated a number of outbreaks in the country. He is presently a professor at a medical college in Pune and an academic editor at PLOS ONE journal.)
The column reflects the author’s opinions and not necessarily those of Empire Diaries.
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