In sync with the big findings by the UK Health Security Agency that Omicron infection among children (means age group of below 18 years) is fewer than the population in the age group of 20-29 years, the proportion of children testing positive in Odisha shrinks vis-a-vis younger adults.
A glance at the infection across the age groups in the State since Dec 21, when the first Omicron strain was detected in the State, shows that the majority of Covid-19 new infection burden is being borne by the population in 19-40 years age group.
On Dec 21, 2021, the new infections among children (0-18 yrs) had been around 16 percent. The proportion of freshly infected children maintained the trend at around 17 per cent of the daily caseload till Jan 3, 2022.
From Jan 4, when the State started recording surge in cases, the share of newly infected children first dropped to around 15 percent of daily new infections.
And the downward trend continued. On Jan 10, the new infected pie among the population in 0-18 years shrunk further to around 10 percent of the new daily infections.
However, when seen in absolute numbers, the total new infections in the age group of 0-18 years on Dec 21 were a mere 30. And the daily caseload was 183.
The contrasting scene on Jan 10, 2022, is the new positives in 0-18 years age group are 707 and the daily caseload stands at 7017.
The maths of the third wave reveals that the daily infection numbers in 0-18 years is up by a massive 2256 percent between Dec 21 and Jan 10, 2022, in contrast, the daily caseload spurted by a whopping 3734 percent.
The comparison clearly reveals that the rate of rise in daily caseload is faster than the rise in new infections among children.
Omicron Catches Young?
As per the data available with State Health Department, between Jan 6 - Jan 9, a high of 13,905 new infections had been reported in the age group of 19-40 years, whereas a mere 1915 new infections were in the age group of 0-18 years.
The viral infection demography of the State shows that while only 1,829 new infections were in the age group of 41-60 years, a paltry 173 infections were in the age group of 60-plus.
The demography of the hotspots like Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Sundargarh and Sambalpur report a high of 48 percent of the daily new infections from the age group of 19-40 years. In the Capital city, the new infections among the elderly populace and children in 0-18 years stand at around 5-6 percent.
Vaccination In 19-40 years
Nearly 1.5 crore population in the State are in the age group of 19-40 years. As per the State Health Department data, around 80 percent have been fully immunised in the State. In contrast, the fully inoculated populace in 0-18 years is nil.
The data further shows that the whole population of over 51 lakh in the age group of 60 plus have been fully vaccinated.
The above data shows despite 80 percent of the population being fully immunised, the age group of 19-40 years is still vulnerable to re-infection, which, however, is not seen in the case of the elderly populace (60 plus age group) in the State.
As per a recent technical paper prepared by the UK Health Security Agency, "Relative to Delta, Omicron is currently more concentrated in young adult age groups (20 to 29) and is less prevalent in children."
Odisha infection demography assents to the UK government study, but the rider has been that the third wave surge burden has been borne by a wide age group - 19-40 years.