Even as the peak of the third wave in Odisha is predicted by January end, the worrisome fact to the fore is the State has notched up one among the highest rural spread in the country.
As per an analysis by SBI Research, the rural cases in Odisha take a high share of 61 percent in January. As a consequence, the State has been ranked 6th in the country in the indicator of the rural spread of the third wave.
High Rural Burden States
While Rajasthan leads the table by virtue of having nearly 75 percent of new cases in the third wave from the rural areas, it is followed by the states like Andhra Pradesh (73 percent), Bihar (68.9 percent), Jammu and Kashmir (66.6 percent), Himachal Pradesh (61.1percent), the report revealed.
Third Wave Odisha - Urban-Rural Divide
According to the latest SBI report, urban areas in Odisha accounted for 39 percent of the new cases in the third wave, as against 61 percent share by rural areas.
An interesting observation to fore is while the surge in daily caseload had been triggered in the second wave by rural areas, the daily caseload spurt in the third wave has been fuelled by the urban areas in the country.
As per SBI data, 67.4 percent of the new cases (based on the weekly moving averages) in January are from urban areas in the country. The share of rural areas in daily caseload nationally has been only 32.6 percent. But the scenario in Odisha presents a different story.
The above numbers clearly indicate how high the third wave has taken a grip on rural areas of the State.
Third Wave Vs Second Wave Vs First Wave
However, when a comparison is made between the three waves, the rural spread in the third wave happens to be the lowest.
As per the SBI data available, in the second wave, Odisha was the third state in the country where the rural districts have contributed the maximum to the daily Covid-19 caseload in the State.
The rural Odisha took a pie of 79.6 per cent in the State's daily caseload during the peak month of the second wave.
The SBI data further shows that in the first wave, the rural districts in the State took a mammoth 74.5 per cent of the daily caseload.
The share of 61 percent in the third wave, therefore, is apparently the lowest in the three waves of the pandemic that has hit the State since 2020.
The Urban Picture
If the SBI report is to be believed, Odisha has reported a higher spread in urban areas during the third wave vis-a-vis the earlier two waves of the pandemic.
The total daily cases in urban areas in the peak month (September 2020) of the first wave were 19.6 per cent of the State's daily caseload.
In the second wave, as per SBI data, the Odisha urban burden in the first month of the second wave was 21.3 per cent of the daily cases. However, in the peak month of May, rural cases rose to a new height but urban caseload dropped.
In the peak month of May 2021, the share declined to 17.7 per cent of the State's total daily caseload. But in the third wave, the urban share is a high of 39 percent.
The Key Takeaways
A study of the above SBI data underlines big takeaways. The record new cases in the third wave in Odisha have been due to community transmission in a large way both in rural and urban areas.
The more significant takeaway is the cases in urban areas in the State surged in the third wave, despite 81 percent of the eligible population here being fully vaccinated.
Consider the instance. The fully immunised urban population in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh is 91 percent. And the contribution of urban areas in daily caseload has been 27 percent.
The observation is while the fully inoculated urban populace in Andhra Pradesh is 10 percent more than Odisha, the contribution of the state's urban cases to the daily caseload has been 12 percent lower than Odisha. Andhra Pradesh's urban areas cases are 27 percent of the total caseload as against 39 percent in Odisha.