72% Indians surveyed have one or more in their close network who experienced heart or brain stroke or cancer acceleration in the last three and half years since COVID arrived
- ● Over 20% more individuals had such cases in their close network just in the last 1 year
- ● 15% of respondents indicated 7-10 individuals closely connected to them have experienced several medical conditions like brain or heart stroke or cancer acceleration since COVID
- ● Only 28% surveyed did not have anyone in their close network with any severe medical conditions
- ● Question on the root cause of such conditions is persisting in the minds of many Indians
October 29, 2023, New Delhi: At least 10 deaths, including that of a teenager, due to cardiac arrest were reported within 24 hours during the annual garba dance festival, celebrated with great fanfare during Navratri in Gujarat. As we mark World Stroke Day on Oct 29th, what needs greater focus is that it is the second most common cause of death in India. According to Global Burden of Diseases (GBD), India bore most of the burden of stroke with 68.6% of incidence of stroke, 70.9% of stroke deaths and 77.7% of Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) lost. Another alarming finding of the GBD 2010 stroke project is that 5.2 million (31%) strokes were witnessed in children, aged less than 20 years.
Post COVID, according to reports, there has been a rise in the number of heart and brain strokes. In a new preliminary study, researchers found that COVID impacts the heart at a cellular level by causing inflammation, oxidative stress, and changes in a protein that regulates calcium in the heart. Andrew Marks, a cardiologist and biophysics professor at Columbia University, who was involved in the research, said, "The more awareness you build around particular aspects of a disease, the more likely you are to improve the care of patients. And doctors should be aware of heart changes related to COVID-19 infections and should be looking for them." The scientists presented their results on February 20, 2022, at the 67th Annual Biophysical Society Meeting in San Diego, California.To investigate COVID impact on the heart, the research team looked at heart tissue from individuals who had COVID-19 and made several key observations. First, they noticed an increase in oxidative stress, which can reduce cells’ ability to detoxify harmful substances. In addition, they also observed an increase in signs of inflammation in the tissue. Moreover, the team discovered unfavorable changes in RyR2 — a protein that helps regulate calcium ions in the heart. The disruption in calcium ion regulation can cause problems with how the heart muscle contracts resulting in irregular heartbeats, palpitations, or heart failure, according to a press statement.
The COVID 19 vaccines were produced to give us immunity against the deadly virus, but they were not devoid of side effects, according to a study ‘Vaccine-induced thrombosis and thrombocytopenia (VITT); Exploring the unknown’, led by Ashok Sunder, Department of Medicine, Tata Main Hospital, Bistupur, Jamshedpur, Jharkhand. Published online by the National Centre of Biotechnology Information, National Institutes of Health, the report states that Covishield is one such vaccine that can, though very rarely, lead to Vaccine-induced VITT. Both thrombosis and thrombocytopenia usually occurred between 5 and 45 days of receiving adenovirus vector-based vaccines. Thrombosis occurred at unusual sites like portal vein, hepatic veins, splanchnic vein, mesenteric veins and cerebral venous sinuses. Most patients who developed VITT were less than 60 years and were females. However, both men and women have been diagnosed with VITT following the administration of AstraZeneca vaccine in other parts of the world.
Another study, published in the journal Cardiovascular Research in January 2023, followed a group of over 7,500 people with and without pre-existing heart conditions, who caught Covid-19 between March and November 2020 (which is before the vaccine was available in the UK). Compared to uninfected people, this group was around 40% more likely to develop cardiovascular disease and five times more likely to die during the 18 months afterwards. People who had experienced severe infection were at even higher risk. Both in the short-term and long-term, those previously infected were at higher risk of the following heart and circulatory system problems.
Another study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, suggests that a person who develops severe COVID-19 might also be living with undiagnosed cancer. The investigation, claimed to be first of its kind, found that people hospitalized with severe COVID-19 had a 31% increased likelihood of being diagnosed with cancer in the months afterwards, compared with people hospitalized for other reasons and people with COVID-19 that did not require hospitalization.“If our findings are reproduced elsewhere, screening for some cancers — for example, colon, kidney, lung, hematological [blood] — in case of severe forms of COVID could allow for early detection and treatment,” says Antoine Flahault, MD, a study author and director of the Institute of Global Health at the University of Geneva in Switzerland.
With over ten thousand posts and comments received on the subject of brain and heart strokes in the last 30 months and nearly 2000 of them just in the last 12 months, people have been asking whether such conditions are the after effect of COVID and its re-infections, the COVID vaccine or a combination. Few have raised questions about variants of COVID, vaccine batches or impact of COVID and its vaccine on people with specific blood groups. Despite LocalCircles raising the issue post its 2022 survey, no credible study has come out researching these aspects and these questions continue to persist in the minds of many Indians, especially as they see young people in their social networks suddenly fall victim to a brain or heart stroke.
To understand the magnitude of such incidences in 2023, LocalCircles conducted a new survey to understand if instances of severe medical conditions are continuing to occur in close networks of people i.e. their family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. The survey received over 11,000 responses from citizens located in 322 districts of India. 68% respondents were men while 32% respondents were women. 43% respondents were from tier 1, 35% from tier 2 and 22% respondents were from tier 3, 4 and rural districts.
72% citizens surveyed indicated that they have one or more individuals in their close network who experienced medical conditions like brain stroke, cardiac arrest, heart attack, cancer acceleration in the last 3.5 years
The survey asked respondents from across the country, “How many people do you have in your close social network (family, extended family, friends, neighbours, colleagues, etc.) who have had medical conditions like brain stroke, cardiac arrest, heart attack, cancer acceleration etc. (post March 2020)?” Out of 11,480 who responded to this query 72% citizens surveyed indicated that they have one or more individuals in their close social network who experienced medical conditions like brain stroke, cardiac arrest, heart attack, cancer acceleration in the last 3.5 years. Data shows that 32% of citizens surveyed indicated 1-2 people in their close network have suffered, 25% indicated at least 3-5 people closely linked to them, 10% of respondents indicated 7-9 individuals closely connected to them, and 5% indicated 10 or more people in their close social network. However, 28% of citizens surveyed were thankful that there was no one in their close social network who had onset of severe health conditions in the last 3.5 years.
What is disturbing is that the percentage of citizens who have had one or more individuals in their close social network with medical conditions like brain stroke, cardiac arrest, heart attack, cancer acceleration since the pandemic started in March 2020, has risen from 51% in the last survey in October 2022 to 72% in October 2023.
While this study is non-medical, yet it is bottoms up and goes across length and breadth of the country receiving participation from 322 districts. Also, it is showing that percentage of people with such incidences in their close network rose from 51% in October 2022 to 72% in October 2023. Given that, India has not had a major wave of COVID in this period, this rise is even more concerning and may indicate that the events of 2020 and 2021 are the likely cause of this rise in onset of severe medical conditions in people. The need of the hour here is for the Government to study this in more detail and get to the root cause of it. If it is COVID the disease and its re-infections that are causing such conditions the solutions may be different than if it is the COVID vaccine that is causing it.
The survey received over 11,000 responses from citizens located in 322 districts of India. 68% respondents were men while 32% respondents were women. 43% respondents were from tier 1, 35% from tier 2 and 22% respondents were from tier 3, 4 and rural districts. The survey was conducted via LocalCircles platform and all participants were validated citizens who had to be registered with LocalCircles to participate in this survey.