Most of the confirmed coronavirus infections in Bangladesh and deaths from the COVID-19 disease it causes occurred in June
Most of the confirmed coronavirus infections in Bangladesh and deaths from the COVID-19 disease it causes occurred in June.
Until Wednesday morning, the government reported 149,258 COVID-19 patients, including 99,720, or 66.81 percent, from Jun 1 to Jul 1.
After the first cases were detected on Mar 8, Bangladesh has reported 1,888 deaths from the disease, 1,216 of them in past one month. The victims in the month are 64.41 percent of the total deaths.
In the 13 days from the detection of the first cases, the government confirmed 54 COVID-19 patients and the number crossed 8,000 in the next month. Until Jun 1, the number of people tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Bangladesh was 49,538.
The first death was reported on Mar 18. The toll rose to six in the next 13 days and surged to 672 in the next two months.
Experts have warned that the coronavirus caseload will spiral as the government ended a two-month lockdown on May 31 and eased restrictions gradually.
Visitors hang out at Hatirjheel in Dhaka amid a coronavirus outbreak. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi“The number of infections may rise by another 100,000 in the next 15 days if this rate continues,” said Dr Be-Nazir Ahmed, the former director general of health services.
“It took one month to record 100,000 cases. We may get 200,000 cases this month,” he said.
The communicable disease expert lamented a lack of efforts to enforce zone-wise lockdowns to contain the outbreak.
“We’ve succeeded in experimental lockdown, but what will be the outcome if we don’t learn from the experiment?” he asked.
Bangladesh is now the 17th among the countries most affected by the disease.
“We will surpass another country in a day or two. We wouldn’t have been in this position had we implemented the measures to control the outbreak properly,” Dr Be-Nazir said.
Another public health expert, Dr Mushtuq Husain, believes the public apathy towards health protocols to avoid infection has given the rise in the coronavirus cases and deaths from the disease.
A medical technologist records patient data before collecting COVID-19 samples at Government Unani and Ayurvedic Medical College and Hospital in Dhaka’s Mirpur. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove“People aren’t wearing masks. And when they do wear masks, they are opening the covering while speaking, or keeping it on their chins most of the times,” he said.
Such practices are allowing the virus to attack vulnerable people like the elderly, which is leading the death toll to rise steadily, said Dr Mushtuq, a former chief scientific officer of the government’s disease control agency IEDCR.
He suggested enforcing lockdowns in all the areas with most infection and death rates at a time to control the outbreak.
Identifying and isolating COVID-19 patients properly will also help keep the rate under control, he said.
“We are conducting tests on people who are coming forward to give samples, but we need to go door to door to find out the suspected patients and isolate them even if we can’t arrange tests for them,” Mushtuq said.