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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: A critical breach in Odisha’s key Covid-19 containment strategy has been observed during the last week, when the coronavirus related fatalities without any co morbidities have posted a sharp rise. For which, there is a projection that in the next 15-days, the State is likely to record over 350 deaths due to Covid-19.

As per the data with State Health Department, in the last week (Apr 22-29),Odisha had recorded a massive 70 deaths vis-a-vis mere 25 fatalities in the previous week.

THE FATAL PROJECTION

A look at the 7-days average brings to fore the enormity. During the first 7-days, the fatal average in the State was a measly 0.28. In the week ending Apr 29, the mortality average has shot up to over 8 deaths per day.

Taking the measured average weekly growth rate (around 204 per cent) of fatalities during the last 4-weeks, the projection is Odisha may record 350 more deaths due to Covid-19 in the coming fortnight.

WHY THE LETHAL TWIST?

The projected sharp rise in deaths has been attributed to a sudden spurt in casualties without co-morbidities in the State. Till April 21, deaths sans co-morbidities were a mere around 20 per cent of total Covid-19 fatalities. But during the period of Apr 22-29, the proportion has risen to around 46 per cent of the total deaths in the State.

More worrying lines for the State are, the deaths without co-morbidities are majorly observed in the age-group of 24-55 years.

THE KILLER REASON

Consider the case study. Recently, a 36-year old male in Ganjam district died of the contagious disease without having any co-morbidity. Hospital sources said the patient was admitted to the hospital with low oxygen saturation level. Despite all possible critical care treatment, the patient succumbed to the disease due to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), sources claimed.

Significantly, the case study has focussed on the symptoms of low oxygen saturation level resulting into death. As per US-based CDC, low oxygen saturation in a patient starts from the 5th day. And will deteriorate by the 10th day.

Going back to the case study, it seems now clear that the young patient died without any co-morbidity. And he was admitted to critical care treatment by around 8th day of the onset of symptoms. As per family sources, they came to know about the Covid-19 positive on the 4th day after the onset of symptoms.

The timeline clearly shows a delay in detection and gap between detection and admission of the patient to the hospital.

Though the State Health Department is emphasising on early detection, isolation and treatment, the strategy is yet to see complete germination on ground across the State.

This is not an isolated case in Ganjam. Reports have come from Rayagada, Sundargrah, Keonjhar etc. Given the prevailing scenario in different remote parts of the State, the fatality burden will rise in the State as the second wave is progressing towards peak.

THE VULNERABILITY CHART

As per the data with State Health Department, the age-group that is majorly vulnerable in the second wave is 45-60 years. This age-group shares as high as 43 per cent of the fatality burden in the State. The younger age-group (24-42) takes a burden of around 26 per cent.

Significantly, the 60+ age-group that had been vaccinated from March 1 this year, the share of fatalities from the age-group has been around 29 per cent till date. In the first wave, the age-group had a share of around 43-45 per cent.

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