Rourkela traders bear the brunt of second Covid wave as infections, deaths spike in district

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By Express News Service

ROURKELA:  Amid the scary spike in Covid cases in Sundargarh, Rourkela is witnessing a strange pattern of infection and deaths. A sizable number of affluent people, mostly businessmen, have borne the brunt of Covid resurgence in Steel City with many of them succumbing to the virus in recent days. 

The spread of infection among the businessmen community is attributed to their exposure to trading activities which brought them in contact with people from different parts of Odisha as well as other states which were hotspots.

Proximity to states like Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand as well as trading connections with Maharashtra and other states are primarily seen as causes which left the trading community exposed to transmission.

Besides, social gatherings and a religious festival centred around Holi festival which were organised between March 20 and 28 are also other reasons.

 Sources said business conferences, Holi get-together, Kabi Sammelan had good attendance by the trading communities. The possibility of the infection spread from these gatherings was suspected after many of these participants tested positive and went into home isolation.  

President of Rourkela Chamber of Commerce and Industry Pravin Garg said infection spread among the businessmen community from social and religious functions in the middle of this deadly pandemic could be a reason.

For peer pressure, social pride and religious belief, people unconsciously ignore the risk of attending large congregations only to put themselves at risk and become potential carriers, he said. 

Besides, many traders and shopkeepers consciously ignored Covid safety norms for reviving businesses after suffering the losses last year.

“To my knowledge, at least half a dozen businessmen died in the last fortnight and more than 100 are undergoing treatment for Covid-19,” Garg added.

Rourkela ADM Aboli Sunil Naravane said the focus of the administration was on tracking all contacts of infected persons and check any further spread.

She said 70-80 per cent of the new cases in Rourkela are contacts of infected persons.

Out of 523 fresh cases in Sundargarh district on Saturday, around 350 were from Rourkela. Sundargarh now has 20,377 positive cases of which 3,671 are active.

From April 9 to 17, the district has added 3,299 new cases of which more than 60 per cent is from Rourkela.