Sanjeev Kumar Patro

News Highlights

  • The daily news cases detected in Odisha stood at over 2k.
  • In contrast, only 80-90 cases per day detected in a big state like Uttar Pradesh
  • Mumbai City had recorded 747 daily count of Covid-19 positives on June 20. The new cases on July 20 stood at 591.
  • In contrast, the State Capital had 246 new cases on June 20, the daily count of the positives on July 20 in the Capital City was 369.

Even as Odisha struggles hard to bring the daily new Covid-19 cases down to a three-digit level, the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government has successfully capped the daily corona count to mere two digits (around 80-95).

Moreover, when the BMC here is grappling to keep the daily positive tally in the State Capital below 2-digits, its counterpart - Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has successfully capped the daily count in between 400-600.

When Mumbai with a population of over 2.06 crore (2021 census projection) on July 20 had recorded around 501 new positives, Odisha's capital city, Bhubaneswar, with a population of over 11.95 lakh had recorded a high of 369 new cases on July 20.

Sample the struggle: Mumbai City had recorded 747 daily count of Covid-19 positives on June 20. The new cases on July 20 stood at 591. In contrast, the State Capital had 246 new cases on June 20, the daily count of the positives on July 20 in the Capital City was 369.

The numbers tell a bigger tale. While the BMC (Mumbai) is able to bring down the coronagraph, the BMC (Bhubaneswar) is yet to gain control over the virus. This is so when the Odisha Capital is leading the national chart with a full vaccination rate of over 27 per cent of the population. On the contrary, the full vaccinated proportion in Mumbai stood at 15.8 per cent.

Similarly, the proportion of fully vaccinated populace in Odisha as of date stood at over 7 per cent (33lakh had received 2-doses), the proportion in UP is estimated at around 3 per cent (2.8%). A total of over 67 lakh in Uttar Pradesh have been administered with 2-doses.

Glaring Input-Output Mismatch

In the indicator of a fully vaccinated populace, Odisha did score over UP and Mumbai. But when it comes to the output indicators - detection of new daily cases, Odisha falters. The State is lagging far behind UP and Mumbai.

Significantly, the glaring mismatch between input-output hints at conspicuous loopholes in the management of Covid-19 in Odisha.

How and where Odisha faltered has been revealed by the recently released India Inequality Report - 2021. First, consider the findings.

  • Odisha has a neat indicator to show on board.
  • In confirmed cases per 1000 population, Odisha figures at 11th in the country.
  • The state has 6.6 confirmed cases per 1000 population.
  • The recovery per 100 in the State at 95, which is 4th highest in the country.
  • In health expenditure as a percentage of the GDP, Odisha is at 7th place in the country. The State spends 1.6 per cent of its GDP on health.
  • The Note here is Bihar is spending 2 per cent of GDP on health.
  • In reducing the inequality index, Odisha with a score of 69 finishes at  8th nationally. Here too, the State is lagging behind Bihar.
  • Significant here is, Bihar has also been recording daily new Covid-19 cases in 2-digits only (80-90)

Where Are The Loopholes?

  • As per the India Inequality report, prepared by Oxfam, UP emerged successful in taming the second wave for, what the WHO called, going the last mile to stop COVID-19.
  • In its report, WHO said UP, despite having a population of over 24 crores, has successfully contained the second wave cases for the policy decision of initiating house-to-house active case finding in rural areas by testing people with symptoms for rapid isolation, disease management and contact tracing.
  • Oxfam report has termed the UP policy as the best practice, which needs to be followed by other states.
  • Similarly, as per the Oxfam India Inequality report-2021, Mumbai successfully contained the second wave through its policy decision of a decentralized system of planning with neighbourhood war rooms to tackle issues of each locality.
  • The report noted that taking a note from them, Bengaluru has set up committees in each of its 198 wards to better manage the pandemic.
  • The Oxfam report further said, "For this governance and planning, Mumbai was able to handle the surge in cases in the second wave much better than Delhi. Deaths in Mumbai were one-fourth of that in Delhi."

The Bottom Line:  While the State has remained busy in self-patting its Ganjam model for containing the Covid-19 first wave, the thick tail of the Second wave is yet to thin out in Odisha. The spikes of the delta variant still retain the edge in the State, therefore, it's time for Odisha to look beyond and follow the UP and Mumbai models.