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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: When the coastal districts in Odisha have apparently emerged as the Covid-19 hotspots in the State, around 89 per cent of novel coronavirus positives in State belong to the working age-group of 20 - 50 years. Only 9 per cent Covid-19 positives belong to 60 + age-group vis-a-vis 17 per cent nationally.

The footprint of Covid-19 is seen in as many as six of the nine coastal districts. While Khurda district emerged as the Covid-19 epicentre in Odisha, the other hotspot coastal districts are Puri, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Kendrapada and Cuttack. As on today, the manifestation of novel coronavirus has been traced to in only one district (Kalahandi) in western Odisha.

As Covid-19 cases are mostly linked to people having travel history to abroad or source states in the country, the higher count in coastal Odisha districts has raised eyebrows.

Because, study shows coastal districts account for mere 10 per cent of state's migration burden, in contrast to around 90 per cent by western and southern Odisha.

Since the novel coronavirus source states in the country before imposition of lockdown in the country were Kerala and Maharashtra, the study by Centre for Migration and Labor Solutions reveals Kerala as the main destination for nearly one-fourth of migrants from coastal districts.

In contrast, for over one-fourth of migrant workers in western Odisha, the destination is Chhattisgarh. Moreover, when over another 18 per cent coastal migrant workers migrate to Gujarat for employment, the destination is Maharashtra for the migrant workers in western Odisha.

The map of destination states for migrant workers in the State shows how coastal Odisha is more vulnerable to Covid-19 spread than their counterparts in western Odisha.

As per state government information, over 1 lakh migrant workers from these sources states have returned to Odisha before commencement of lockdown period.

With the Covid-19 cases now nearing 50-mark in Odisha, a look at the epidemiology of the infectious disease in the State reveals that nearly 52 per cent of Covid-19 positives belong to 31-40 years age-group. Comparatively, the proportion nationally stood at 21 per cent. Similarly, the proportion of positives in Odisha in the age-group of 41-50 years stood at around 12 per cent against 18 per cent nationally.

The proportion of Covid-19 positives in the age-group of 20-30 years in Odisha stood at 9.5 per cent.

As on today, age-profile of novel coronavirus positives in the State shows nil positive cases in the age-group of 51-60 years vis-a-vis 13 per cent nationally.

When nationally 17 per cent corona positives belong to 60 plus age-group, the proportion in the State stood at 9.5 per cent.

Though Odisha has recorded only single Covid-19 death till date, the mortality rate, however, is estimated at 2.4 per cent against the national average of 2.9 per cent. Even with a lone death till date, Odisha figures among the top-states in the mortality rate graph nationally.

As per data available with Union Health Ministry, Gujarat with a mortality rate of 7.8 per cent tops the dubious chart. It is followed by Punjab (7.7%), Maharashtra (6.8%), MP (5.7%), Telangana (3%), Odisha (2.4%), Karnataka (2.3%), Delhi (1.5%), AP (1.3%), TN (1%) and UP (0.9%).

The bottomline: In this Covid-19 story in India, Kerala, where the first corona case was detected and the State was 2nd worst hit state in March, has recorded the lowest mortality rate of 0.5 per cent among worst hit states.

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