The Covid-19 graph in Odisha has acquired a faster uptick. With today's count of 424 new confirmed cases, the State figured in the top-10 states in the country having more than 500 new positive cases per day.
In sync with the rising trend in the daily caseload since December 26, 2021, the total cases of Omicron variant in the State today shot up to 37, with an addition of 23 more in a single day - the highest spike in 24 hours.
Is Omicron Behind The Uptick?
In order to understand the trigger factor behind the daily caseload in the State, it seems appropriate to analyse the data released by the US-based Centre For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
On Dec 4, 2021, 48 hours after the first Omicron case was detected, the daily caseload in the US was 1,18,328. The genome sequencing had then revealed that the Omicron variant was only 0.6 percent and Delta occupied a whopping 99.1 percent.
On Dec 25, 2021, the last date till which genome sequencing data is available, the daily caseload in the US shot up to touch 2,64,527. And genome sequencing data had revealed that the Omicron variant had now grown to 58.6 percent of the total positives sequenced for genome; whereas the Delta variant had shrunk to 41.1 percent.
The above data clearly indicated a link between rising Covid-19 cases in US and Omicron footprint.
The State had detected two cases of the new variant of concern on December 22. The daily caseload in the State then was 183.
On Dec 30, the count of the new variant in the State had increased to 14, including a case that had no history of foreign travel. And the daily caseload was 225.
Today on Jan 2, 2022, the Omicron positives had jumped to 37, and. coincidentally, the daily caseload in the State had taken a high jump to touch 424.
Though, unlike the US govt, Odisha is yet to release the proportion of Delta Vs Omicron between Dec 22, 2021, to Jan 2, 2022, the rise in daily caseload in tandem with the spurt in the new virus of concern drops enough clues.
Jharkhand Factor Behind Odisha Rise?
As per data available with Union Health Ministry, Koderma district, bordering Bihar, has a weekly positivity rate of over 6,5 percent in December end. Moreover, the State had recorded over 1007 new cases during the last 24 hours (as per Worldometer data).
But the neighbouring State is yet to detect Omicron cases. However, since the beginning, the total genomes sequenced in Jharkhand has been only 783 as against 2,997 in Odisha.
Bihar which had sequenced till date a total of 552 genomes, has a nil Omicron count as of date. In contrast, Maharashtra with the sequencing of over 23000 genomes is topping the new variant of concern list in the country with a total of 480 cases.
Even Niti Aayog member VK Paul had earlier informed that Jharkhand is emerging as a state of concern in late December 2021.
Though on Dec 30, 2021, an individual from Keonjhar, a Dubai returnee had been detected with Omicron positive, today, as per Director, Public Health Services, Bijay Mohapatra, of the 23 new Omicron cases sequenced, 7 belong to Keonjhar.
In sum, of the 37 new variant cases, Keonjhar district now has 8 cases, almost equal to the Omicron tally of Khordha.
More so, the Covid-19 tally in the district is on the rise since Dec 24, 2021, though the daily test positivity rate is only 0.33 percent in the district. But the rider here is RT-PCR tests in the district is only around 43 percent of the total tests done in the district when the Union Health Ministry norm is 60-70 percent.
Khordha - Again The Top Hotspot?
The daily test positivity rate of the State Headquarters district Khordha, including Capital City Bhubaneswar, stood at 2.2 percent as against 0.36 percent State average. The daily caseload in the district today touched 177, despite 70.36 percent population in the district being fully vaccinated.
The district along is now accounting for nearly 40 percent of the daily caseload of the State. As the district has been recording a rise since Dec 28, 2021, and the majority of infected individuals are fully vaccinated, the world trend hinting at the cases was of the new variant of concern.
Also, the RTPCR proportion to total tests in Bhubaneswar stood at only 54 per cent and it is 27 percent for Khordha district. The norm by Union Health Ministry is 60-72 percent. Mumbai, which has the highest Omicron cases in the country, the ratio of RTPCR tests conducted daily stood at over 62 percent.
New Symptoms Of Omicron
As per a recent study by US-CDC, the details about the high transmission risk and symptoms are given below.
- The study was done in Nebraska (US) during November - December 2021 revealed that Omicron spread to an unmasked individual from a coughing masked person.
- Therefore, the top medical research agency asked for mandatory masking by all.
- The new virus of concern was transmitted to the whole of the family (5 members) and symptoms manifested in just 3-days.
- Moreover, of the 5 -members that got the infection, one was fully vaccinated plus had an earlier infection
- Three are unvaccinated but had previous symptomatic Covid-19 infection, and another one was unvaccinated and had exhibited Covid-19 symptoms in Nov 2020 but tested RT-PCR negative.
New Symptoms of Omicron
- Vaccinated/Earlier Infected:
- None had the symptoms of loss of taste or smell.
- Only 2 had the subjective fever (means feeling feverish)
- But in their first infection, all four had the symptoms of loss of smell/taste and fever.
Unvaccinated Omicron symptoms
- Joint Pain
But the breathtaking fact to the fore in the study is, none (vaccinated plus unvaccinated) required hospitalisation.