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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: With the second coronavirus wave in the Capital City is being seen taking wings on a higher order of local transmission cases, the State's smartest city is witnessing the headwinds of the novel virus. The State capital alone is now contributing one-fifth of the total new cases detected daily in Odisha.

HOW'S THE HEADWIND?

From mere 3 cases on March 1, the cases spiralled up by around 1600 per cent to touch 51 on Sunday (March 28). And the anxiety factor has been the rise in the local contact cases.

The proportion of local contact cases on March 1 was around 33 per cent. But during a span of nearly 28-days, the proportion of local cases in the total new confirmed positives has posted a sharp rise to touch nearly 88-92 per cent.

THE ANXIETY QUOTIENT

The anxiety factor for the Capital Civic body is the high order arduousness involved in tracking down the contacts of local cases in the shortest possible time.

Unlike the quarantined contacts, the contact tracing in the local transmission is an uphill task, especially, when Union Health Ministry data suggests that one infected person has the potential to spread the contagious virus to 406 others during a 30-day period.

Such a gigantic spread is very much possible given the super laxity witnessed in non-adherence to the Covid-19 appropriate behaviour by the denizens in the City here.

The nightmare for the city civic body is tracing down all the contacts of the confirmed local cases within 72 hours. The bumps here are it's very hard to track down the root and branches of the infection called the locally grown Covid-19 tree in such a short span.

BMC'S COVID COUNTER PLAN

Speaking to odishatv.in, BMC Commissioner Prem Chandra Chaudhary, however, said the Civic body is on a mission mode to track down the contacts of all local cases.

"Our plan of action is very clear. In order to bend the corona curve down, the BMC is quite diligent in adopting the 2T -Testing and Tracing - strategy to the hilt in order to prevent the contagious virus from taking any worse turn. We have increased the number of tests to around 1500 (BMC conducts 1000 and others around 500) per day. And for the last 4-days, the RT-PCR tests conducted in the city has jumped to around 800 per day" he outlined.

As per the data available with the BMC, the Test Positive Rate (TPR) in the City has now been hovering at around 4 per cent from a high of 5.75 per cent a week ago. The national average has been 5.08 per cent.

BMC'S GUNPOWDER ENOUGH TO RIP APART THE C-CURVE?

As per the tests and daily positives data provided by the BMC, the tests per million currently in Bhubaneswar stood at 1,256. The tests per million conducted by Mumbai - the country's number one Covid-19 hotspot - stood at 2,325.

As per the data available with Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Mumbai claimed itself of occupying the second spot after Bangalore in conducting the number of tests per million in the country.

BMC VS BMC

While the daily test positive rate (TPR) of Mumbai stood at around 12-13 per cent, the TPR in Bhubaneswar stood at around 4 per cent. The significant fact is TPR in Bhubaneswar had remained above the national average till March 22.

COMMON TALE OF TWO BMCs: The data with Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) reveals that the proportion of RT-PCR tests constitute around 48 per cent of the total tests.

The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) data disclosed that the proportion of RT-PCR tests have been increased to 53 per cent during the last 4-days. Till March 22, the RT-PCR proportion to the total had been around 45-48 per cent.

But the Union Health Ministry has recently asked all the states, where the TPR is above 4 per cent to increase the RT-PCR proportion in total tests to over 70 per cent. It counselled the states to use RAT only in containment zones.

WHY STRESS ON RT-PCR: Data from the topmost hot spot Mumbai gives the evidence.  When the TPR in the gold standard tests have been estimated at 48 per cent - means 48 tested positive in every 100 RT-PCR tests, the positive rate in RAT (Rapid Antigen Tests) stood at a mere 7 per cent - means only 7 tested positive in every 100 RAT tests.

THE BOTTOMLINE

The above comparative analysis reveals that the gun powder of Bhubaneswar Municipal corporation (BMC) lacks the power to shoot down the high local transmission in the city unless it increases the RT-PCR tests per day to around 1,100- 1,200 from the current 800 per day.

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