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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: With the mounting up of COVID-19 count in the State, major worrying trends pop up on the epidemiology chart of novel coronavirus in Odisha. These pop-ups have grave implications on Odisha government's current anti-COVID strategy.

The key emerging COVID trend observed in the State is, of late, many of the new positives detected in the districts of Jajpur, Balasore and Bhadrak remained asymptomatic well beyond the normal 14-days quarantine period.

Over all, the observation is in nearly 51 per cent of the total positive cases, symptoms become discernible between 14 and 27 days.

Significantly, in the earlier COVID cases reported in the State, especially from P-1 to P-5, the symptoms were conspicuous within 5-14 days. However, later, almost in majority of the instances, including positive cases from Tablighi cluster, the symptoms were conspicuous only during 21-22 days.

Now, take the instance of patient number 83 from Dasrathpur in Jajpur district. P-83, a 38-year old male, completed his quarantine on April 14. He remained asymptomatic. As State government here mandated only a 14-day quarantine period, P-83 visited Bank of India branch there on April 20.  On April 22, the swab sample (collected owing to his travel history) of P-83 tested positive.

COVID symptoms after 14 days

The story of P-83 is not a solitary one. Similar trend has been observed in COVID positives like P-71 (Jajpur), P-80 (Bhadrak), P-66 (Bhadrak), P-82 (Bhadrak) and P-79 (Balasore) etc.

The non-manifestation of symptoms beyond 14-days is a wake-up call for State Health Department. Because, in Ganjam district many returnees from Kolkata have been allowed to resume their normal activities post completion of 14-day quarantine period.

In many states like Tamil Nadu, the State government has mandated a 28-day quarantine for returnees from abroad and other states.

The reason behind TN mandating 28-days quarantine for the returnees is based on the epidemiological results of COVID-19 observed in China.  As per WHO - China joint study, in nearly 3-4 per cent cases, the COVID symptoms were noticed between 14 and 27 days.

Another major trend observed was, the number of novel coronavirus positives in the vulnerable age-group of 60 years plus have risen by a massive 175 per cent to touch 11 today. Similarly, COVID positives in another susceptible age-group of 41-60 years have grown by 133 per cent.COVID age-Group Odisha

In contrast, the rise in the younger age-group of 15-40 years has been around 73 per cent. And the rate of rise in age-group of 0-14 years in the State is estimated at mere 25 per cent.

The worry for Odisha is rise in COVID positives in such vulnerable age-groups may lead to more complications and resultant COVID mortalities in the State.

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