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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: In tandem with the recent projection by IIT Kanpur that the second wave in India will be having an exponential growth, the Covid-19 count in Odisha has been growing rapidly.

The moot question then is will Odisha record the second wave peak soon or the cases will simply peter out with time?

As per epidemiologists, the exponential spike of any epidemic hints that the peak is coming. If indeed so, then when the State will record the peak?

Significantly, after the SBI research report, IIT Kanpur's SUTRA model projects that the country will see the second wave peak of Covid-19 between April 15-20.

The team of IIT Kanpur scientists led by Mahendra Verma projects so on the basis of daily cases of coronavirus recorded in the country in March, which, they say, are almost equivalent to the level of cases recorded daily in August 2020. Therefore, scientists predict that the peak is coming in mid-April.

However, the IIT-Kanpur team has clearly mentioned that not all states will attain the peak at the same time. Their SUTRA (Susceptible, Undetected, Tested (positive), Removed (recovered or dead) Approach says,

"Since Maharashtra have 70 per cent load of total cases in the country, the State will be the first to see the peak."

But the IIT-K research report is unanimous on one thing - the cases in the second wave will grow exponentially in the country. The SBI research report had also mentioned the same projection quite emphatically.

"The up-slope will be steep and so too the down-slope - means cases will show the rapid rise and it will also fall at a rapid rate," the IIT-K report explained.

Is Odisha witnessing an exponential rise in cases?    

SAMPLE THE EVIDENCE

Consider the cases in the last 15-days in Odisha. On March 15, the number of daily new confirmed cases in the State stood at 65. Charting a geometrical progression, the daily new confirmed cases in the State touched 461 today. The fact below explains the exponential spike in State.

During the period of March 15-April 1, the number of cumulative Covid-19 tests conducted grew by a mere 5 per cent to touch over 91 lakh from nearly 87 lakh on March 15. In contrast, the daily new positive count grew geometrically to 461 from 65 on March 15. The surge is over 609 per cent.

This exponential surge shows the peak is coming.

WHEN WILL THE PEAK COME?

Going by the IIT-Kanpur premises, as the March COVID-19 count in Odisha is not equivalent to the August 2020 growth, but the exponential growth looks apparent in April.

For which, a senior epidemiologist in the National Rural Health Mission, Odisha, believes that the peak in Odisha may be delayed by a month (say May).

HOW LONG WILL ODISHA SEE RISE IN ACTIVE CASELOAD?

As per the IIT-K report, since the Ro- Reproduction value- of the country on March 27 has been estimated at around 1.26, which the report said is equal to the value prevailed in March 2020, therefore, the active caseload will rise for the next 3-4 months (means till July).

As per the Indian Institute of Mathematical Science, Chennai, the R-value of Odisha is nearing 1 in mid-March. Odisha had an R-value of 1.1 in April 2020. As the cases are growing exponentially now, Odisha too will see an increase in active caseload till July.

WHAT THE RISE IN CASES HINTS?

As per the IIT-K SUTRA model, U means undetected, where, the report says, they may be infected but asymptomatic and thus undetected by health authorities.

As per Odisha Health Department guidelines, the gold standard RT-PCR tests will be conducted on people having SARI or Covid-19 symptoms. For which, the IIT study said among the U, there may be asymptomatic and hence undetected. But the worry is they may spread the virus.

As per the senior NRHM epidemiologist, the surge in local contact cases by nearly 7-times to 189 on April 1 from a mere 28 on March 15 reveals that the State has a very large proportion of undetected cases. Therefore, the rise in caseload is exponential, he explained.

The bottom line is as the cumulative positive rate between the last 15-days posted a sharp rise to .005 per cent from .0007 per cent, there is a need for Odisha to go for more RT-PCR tests to flatten the re-curve at the earliest.

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