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Why Odisha’s Ganjam has the potential to give COVID-19 jitters?

The shocker is IIT-Delhi assigns the district a R0 value of 4.66, which means a single positive individual can infect nearly 5 other individuals

Bhubaneswar: In May, the COVID clock in Odisha sees nearly 40 cases in every 24 hours. The State has 828 COVID positives as on today. The major burden is borne by three districts Ganjam, Jajpur and Balasore. These three districts now account for 6 in every 10 positives in the State.

However, among the top three, Ganjam district alone takes the burden of 3 in every 10 corona positive cases in the State. It is with this gigantic share in COVID burden, the district has the high risk of giving migraine to the State Health Department.

COVID cases in Odisha
Top 10-districts in Odisha COVID Chart

For which, Odisha government has confined the coronavirus within the quarantine centres by virtue of bringing in mandatory quarantine of all COVID positives for 28-days.

How Ganjam has the high risk?

The infectiousness of COVID-19 lies with its faster transmission rate, which epidemiologists describe as the R naught factor (R0). The shocker here is IIT-Delhi assigns the district a R0 value of 4.66, which means a single positive individual can infect nearly 5 other individuals.  The rider here is provided there is no control mechanism on the transmission.

As per top IIT researchers here, the R0 value for the district is calculated taking into account the infectious period of COVID disease in the district, transmission modes and contact rate.

Will the situation then be explosive?

There is no need to worry as the State Health Department has put in elaborate quarantine policy to eliminate the factors like contact rate and transmission mode. However, the rider here is Odisha government has to implement its stated quarantine policy as per the WHO blue book.

Why R0 is very important?

Because,  it is the R0 value that will determine the quantum of COVID surge in any State/country. As per IIT-Delhi, owing to COVID surge in the 3 districts, the R naught value for the State in May increased to 2.76 from nearly 1 in April. The big inference is unless controlled, one COVID positive in the State has the potential to transmit the infectious disease to 3 other individuals.

When the R0 value is so high, the warning shot for the State then is lifting of lockdown curbs, especially abdication of maintaining social distancing (both in public places and quarantine centres), will prove suicidal.

The Bottomline

As the country will soon see unfolding of Lockdown 4.0 till May 31, the estimates released recently by IIT-Delhi researchers show how vulnerable the State is in the COVID battle. Even, a blink at this stage could prove irreversible.

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