No Threat Of 4th Wave Of COVID To Odisha, Says Health Expert

Bhubaneswar: Another health expert of Odisha has dispelled the possibility of 4th wave of COVID in the state despite spread of the variants of the virus in other countries.

In a video release on Friday, Jayant Panda, health expert, said some countries like China, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, USA, Europe, Australia and Hongkong are facing fourth phase of COVID pandemic at present as two sub-strains of Omicron virus – BF.7 ad XBB 1.5 – have been active.

He held wrong management of the pandemic on the part of the authorities in these countries responsible for the spread of the pandemic. Citing the example of China, he said in order to ensure zero COVID, the authorities enforced lockdown for continuous three years and lifted it under the pressure from the public. They also did not carry out mass vaccination drive as in India.

As a result, the people, who remained confined to indoors all these years, were suddenly exposed to the new variants and sub-variants of the virus and were affected. Another alarming feature of these countries is that almost all affected persons are of old age or have comorbidity.

“Compared to this, the people of India have been immunised due to massive vaccination drive. The senior citizens, pregnant women and people with comorbidities were prioritised in our country. Now, our people have developed strong immune system to fight the COVID variants,” Panda said.

Substantiating his claim, he said while 3 to 5 lakh positive cases are reported in the affected countries, India has reported only 185 cases on Friday. Besides, all of them have mild sickness and are in good condition. None of them has been hospitalised.

“At the same time, we have not sopped in carrying out COVID tests. Even today, around 2 lakh tests are conducted in the country on daily basis. Out of 5,000-6,000 tests carried out in Odisha everyday, one or two positive cases are reported,” he said.

He further said the positivity rate in Odisha is 0.01 percent daily and 0.012 percent weekly. Besides, SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack, the state’s premier hospital having all facilities for COVID treatment has not admitted a single patient in the last two months.

Considering all these factors, Panda said there is no reason to panic about outbreak of fourth phase of COVID pandemic in Odisha.

At the same time, he cautioned the people not to let their guards down and follow necessary COVID guidelines to prevent the virus to spread. He advised the people who have not taken the booster dose, to get vaccinated including nasal vaccination.

The people with comorbidities need to take special care and everybody should continue the habit of using face masks in crowded and public places, he said.

It may be noted that Niranjan Mishra, director, Public Health on January 2 had said the state government was prepared to face the situation in the wake of detection of the first case of COVID sub-variant XBB.1.5. All medical facilities have been updated in case of its outbreak and the sub-variant will have no impact on the state, he added.

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