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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: The COVID clock keeps ticking in Odisha. In a span of 15-days, the count of novel coronavirus positives in the State has doubled. The corona curve that appeared to have gone flat in the State since April 6, suddenly took an upturn since April 19 (see the graph below). What rakes up every mind is will the number rise further aggressively in the State?

Covid19rise in Odisha

In fact, the rise in COVID-19 numbers in the State has a context to it - large-scale sample testing in the potential hotspots. During the last 3-days (Apr 19-21), the average sample testing per day in Odisha stood at a massive 1,361 per day vis-a-vis 504 for the period April 1-18. And in tandem, Odisha has reported 7 new cases per day from around 3-cases per day during the period April 1-18.

In Novel Coronavirus, since the higher the testing, the higher are the number of positives, a look at the state-wise data on sample tests and positive rate/cases drop some big hints.

It has been observed that, except Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, all the other states that have conducted more sample tests, have reported more positive cases than Odisha.

Look at the instances. Punjab has conducted around 7,355 sample tests with a total of 251 positives. J&K has tested over 9,000 samples, and the positive count stood higher at 380. Comparably, Odisha tested 13,775 samples and positives stood at only 82. (See the image below)

Covid test Odisha

In contrast, states like Maharashtra and Haryana, who have tested more samples than Odisha, have a higher positive count than Odisha. Maharashtra tested over 83,000 samples till yesterday and the total positive cases stood at over 5000.  Haryana tested over 14,000 samples and the positive cases stood at 254. The total sample tests done in Odisha till today stood at 13,775.

A look at other states like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, MP, UP, Kerala and Karnataka shows tests have a certain co-relation with number of corona positives. But there is no clear pattern of a uniform link.

For instance, Rajasthan has conducted over 63,000 sample tests and total positives are at 1,659.  Similarly, Tamil Nadu conducted a total of around 53,000 tests and the positive cases in the State stood at 1,596.

Contrarily, Gujarat has tested a total of 33,316 samples, but the total positive count is higher at 2,272. The case of Delhi is same. The total tests conducted in Delhi till Tuesday stood at 26,627, and COVID positive numbers are 2,156.

The above series of comparison shows that higher tests resulted in more COVID cases in a state. But the rate of positivity doesn't rise uniformly with the rise in samples tested.

The reason: Delhi and Gujarat conducted fewer tests than TN and Rajasthan, despite that the Covid-19 positive rate in Delhi and Gujarat is higher than TN and Rajasthan.

The bottomline is as Odisha has decided to scale up the COVID testing capacity in the State, the COVID numbers will keep growing in the State till the end of 40-day quarantine period (up to May 3).

The Reason: the word 'Quarantine', as per WHO, means isolation for 40 days. And after 40-days, no infectious disease can ever manifest in a person. This is the logic behind PM Modi's extension of lockdown 2.0 till May 3. So, wide-scale testing and breaking of transmission cycle via lockdown have been the objective behind WHO's Lockdown therapy for COVID.

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