Sanjeev Kumar Patro

News Highlights

  • The dynamics of the Capital city looks taking a worse turn as the doubling rate during the peak period of the second wave (May 18- May 25) was around 4.8 days.

Even as the daily caseload in the State's Capital city grew by 59 percent on Friday, the pandemic third wave in the city is seemingly taking a worse turn. At this rate of case surge, the Capital City will see a doubling of cases in just 2.49 days.

The dynamics of the Capital city looks taking a worse turn as the doubling rate during the peak period of the second wave (May 18- May 25) was around 4.8 days.

In the current scenario, the State Capital is going to record the worst pandemic high in the next fortnight. The RTPCR ratio in the city is at around 44 percent. The new case number will post a sharp stride if the ratio increases to at least 60 percent.

Despite RAT cornering over 66 percent of Covid tests in the city, the high weekly positive rate hovering around 8 percent for the week ending on Jan 6, 2022, once again indicates the high load of cluster cases in the State Capital. A high cluster caseload quite clearly points to community transmission in the city.

The Evidence

The community-level transmission in the State capital is assented to by 2 new recent developments during the last 48 hours. As per WHO epidemiologists, the rise in cluster cases or containment zones and reporting of infections in healthcare institutions show the spread at a community level in the region.

Significantly, while the Capital city saw as many as 14 micro-containment zones in just 48 hours on Jan 6, new positive cases were detected among personnel in the healthcare settings. A doctor, among 3, in Capital Hospital tested positive on Thursday.

Moreover, the biggest evidence is local transmission (local contact cases) in the State Capital  posted a mega high jump of over 789 percent in a period of 7-days (Dec 31, 2021 - Jan 6, 2022)'

High RTPCR Tests And Positivity Rate

Here are the two instances that show how the greater the proportion of RTPCR tests, the bigger will be the weekly positivity rates. The big reason is RAT test is recommended for clusters. RTPCR can detect positive, even if an individual is asymptomatic.

  • Mumbai recorded over 20,000 positive cases today. The RTPCR tests constitute 72 percent of total tests. The weekly positivity rate in the week ending on Jan 6, 2022 was a massive 23.26 percent
  • In Chennai, the RTPCR test takes a share of 99 percent. Tamil Nadu is the only state that didn't conduct RAT test. The weekly positivity rate is measured at 10.58 percent.

How The Pandemic Going Worse?

It seems the pandemic is taking a worse turn in the State Capital. By virtue of accounting for nearly 64 percent of active cases in the Khordha district, it has propelled the State Headquarters district to figure in the country's top-65 districts having a high weekly TPR of over 8 percent.

As per the latest data available, the Khordha district, including Bhubaneswar, registered a weekly TPR of over 8.5 percent in the week ending on January 6, 2022. The TPR of the State Headquarters district is much higher than Bengaluru Urban, and all the big districts in worse hit Kerala, except Thiruvananthapuram.

The Culprit - Omicron or Delta

Though Khordha district has reported a higher number of Omicron positives in the State, the proportion in total genome sequencing is not high. Omicron cannot be labelled as the dominant variant in the city and the district. But the cases are growing at a breakneck speed. Here are the details

  • Khordha - Jan 1, 2022 - Daily caseload was 177; Jan 6, 2022 - The new cases grew by 423 percent to touch 926.
  • Bhubaneswar - Jan 1, 2022 - Daily case load was 112. Jan 7, 2022 - The daily numbers up by nearly 470 percent to touch 638.
  • The vaccinated population in the district stood at 71.3 percent. The proportion in the State Capital is around the same value. (Note - The population includes 0-18 year age group)

A look at the genome sequencing data, vaccination rate and hospitalisation data, it seems Omicron is the dominant variant here.

The Big Reason: As per the US-based Centre For Disease Prevention Centre (CDC), breakthrough infections will not be high in the Delta variant. Though there is a 20-30 percent probability in the case of the whole virion inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, the severity will be almost non-existent.

However, re-infections are high among fully immunised individuals, in case of Omicron infections, says the top research institute.

Since, as of date, the hospitalisation rate in the State Capital is very low, so as per CDC, be it breakthrough infections by Delta variant or re-infections by Omicron, hospitalisation and severity will remain low, except in unvaccinated individuals. The unvaccinated proportion in Bhubaneswar is very negligible.