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Coronavirus: 10% of patients who died showing symptoms test positive

  • Published at 09:34 am April 21st, 2020
File photo: A health worker in a protective gown checks a man for signs of the novel coronavirus infection Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Out of the samples tested, 85% or 109 were found coronavirus negative while the results for six samples were yet to be completed

Only 10% of patients who died between March 17 and April 14 with coronavirus-like symptoms, later tested positive for the virus, an analysis has found.

A total of 180 people with cough, fever, breathing difficulties, and diarhoea, died during the period and samples were collected from 128 of them following their deaths, which found 10% or 13 of them tested as positives, confirmed the analysis by Bangla Tribune.

Out of the samples tested, 85% or 109 were found coronavirus negative while the results for six samples were yet to be completed.

Among the 13 people who tested positive after their death, three were from Brahmanbaria and two from Noakhali. There were one each from Dhaka, Kishoreganj, Moulvibazar, Narayanganj, Shariatpur, Gazipur, Barguna, and Jamalpur districts.

Of them, 11 were male, one female and details of one other person was not found. Twelve of them were above the age of 30 years, while no age information was found regarding one of the deceased.

Bangla Tribune research team collected the data from over hundred upazilas under 59 districts analysing the newspaper reports. The deaths were confirmed by civil surgeons of the districts and upazila health officials.

In most cases, returnees from abroad or RMG workers who went to the areas from Dhaka, Narayanganj, and Gazipur were blamed for the spread of virus in the districts.

No sample collected from 52 bodies

The local administrations did not collect samples from 52 deceased, who died of coronavirus-like symptoms, during the period.

For 22 deaths, district administration either was unaware of the death or failed to collect the samples on time. 

In some cases, relatives completed burials of the bodies before the health workers could to collect samples.

For 30 of them, samples were not collected considering the symptoms.

The case-wise analysis found deaths from respiratory illness was higher at the end of March.

Gender and age

Data showed that 77% of those who died with coronavirus-like symptoms during the period were male and 20% were female, according to the analysis. 

Details of five people could not be found in the newspaper reports.

The reports covered age-based information of 161 deaths. Among them, 4% were below 10 years, 6% were between 10-20 years, 14% between 20-30 years, 14% between 30-40 years.

At the same time, 20% of the deaths were reported for people aged between 40-50 years and 42% for people aged above 50 years.

Expert opinion

Zahidur Rahman, assistant professor at the virology department of Shaheed Shuhrawardy Medical College Hospital, said the virus spreads depending on the movement of people.

“When a carrier moves from one place to another, it spreads with him/her. We failed to contain movements since the beginning and this is why some districts became vulnerable to Covid-19,” he said.

The infected people could have been taken into isolation leading to minimised number of infection, if the authorities could ensure lockdown and conduct more and more tests, opined the virologist.

“However, we failed. Now identification of the infected has become a challenge and that is why the numbers are scaling up so frequently,” he added.