BHUBANESWAR: Even as the new cases and fatalities are showing a sign of improvement, the month of May proved to be deadliest as the number of cases detected was close to that of the entire first wave last year.
The COVID carnage also claimed twice the number of lives in rural Odisha than urban areas.
The State reported 7,729 fresh cases and 39 more deaths in last 24 hours. As many as 68,604 samples were tested including 21,570 through RT-PCR during the period bringing down the positivity rate to 11.26 per cent.
An analysis indicated that 3,19,125 cases were detected in May this year as against 3,29,866 cases between March 15 and December 31, last year. While the disease claimed 1,876 lives last year, 737 people fell to the virus in the last month alone. The case fatality rate, however, was 0.23 per cent as compared to 0.56 per cent during the first wave.
However, the rural and urban divide and age-wise death numbers showed that the COVID-19 severity was disproportionately high in the rural pockets and among the youth and middle-aged without comorbidities.
The number of infections and fatalities among the population of 0-60 years in rural pockets of the State was twice the number in urban areas. Among the 60 years above population, the infection was nearly 20 per cent higher than the urban areas though fatalities were near equal.
Of the total cases, 2,08,118 people in rural areas and 1,11,007 in urban localities, including 16,834 and 7,833 persons of less than 16 years, 1,12,177 and 55,167 of 17-40 years age group, 62,394 and 35,905 of 41-60 age group and 16,713 and 12,102 people aged above 60 years respectively tested positive in May.
As far as death toll is concerned, two children, 117 youth, 222 middle-aged and 108 senior citizens succumbed in villages as against one, 41, 139 and 107 respectively in towns and cities. A total of 449 people in rural areas and 288 in urban localities died of Covid-19.
Microbiologist Dr Tribhuban Mohan Mohapatra said the lack of preparedness, limited use of preventives like masks and poor sanitation led to the spread as many people were exposed to the virus during the second wave.
"This apart, the spread continued in families and immediate neighbourhoods due to noncompliance of Covid appropriate behaviour, delay in testing and infected people sharing cramped living spaces with family members," he said.