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Covid-19: Deadliest week so far, worse to come

  • Published at 06:16 pm April 11th, 2021
Son holds mother at Dhaka medical 11 April 2021
A son holds his exhausted mother at the entrance of Dhaka Medical College Hospital, bone-tired after rushing from one office to another in order to seek treatment for a cold and fever, before finally being told that she needed get tested for Covid-19. At one point, the mother fainted right in front of the hospital. The photo was taken on Sunday, April 11, 2021 Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

The seven-day moving average of Covid-19 deaths stands at 67.57 as of April 11

Bangladesh has recently seen a spike in the seven-day moving average of Covid-19 deaths, which is now above 60.

From being lowest (0.57) in the third week of March, 2020, the seven-day moving average has climbed to 67.57 in the second week of April this year.

Bangladesh recorded the highest daily mortalities with 78 deaths on Sunday. With the latest figure, the number of total fatalities rose to 9,739.

Health experts say the death rate is not likely to come down in the coming weeks as too many people have been exposed to the vir

However, they think the death rate might stabilize if the government goes for hard-lockdown and increases adequate medical care facilities for the Covid-19 patients.

A Covid-19 patient waits for her turn to get treatment at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) on Sunday, April 11, 2021. With the latest surge in Covid-19, Dhaka hospitals are struggling to provide medical help to the increasing number of patients | Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

The moving average of deaths has been above 60 since the last 38 days, and the Covid-19 has claimed the lives of 1,304 people during this period.

This spike is much worse than the second wave in November-December, when the highest seven-day moving average was 33. Then it came down to as low as 6.5 on March 5, after which the death rates started increasing drastically.

The number of total confirmed cases jumped to 684,756, according to the daily coronavirus update released on Sunday afternoon by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).

Downward trend not in sight

Experts think the crisis is likely to worsen if people keep on flouting health guidelines and the authorities fail to provide hospital beds for the critical patients. 

Virologist Prof Nazrul Islam, also a member of the National Technical Advisory Committee, thinks Bangladesh has come to a point where there is no alternative to increasing medical care facilities for the Covid-19 patients. 

“We had a year but I do not see any improvement in the health sector or adequate preparation to tackle the health crisis,” he told the Dhaka Tribune.

Also Read - Covid-19 advisory panel suggests full lockdown for two weeks

As new variants including the UK variant and the South African variant are now dominant in the country, Bangladesh is seeing a surge in coronavirus infections and deaths since the end of March.

Dr Islam said: “Hospitals are already overcrowded with Covid-19 patients. So increasing the number of hospital beds for Covid-19 patients should be the highest priority for the authorities.”

He warned that some of the critical patients might be facing critical condition in the coming weeks.

Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) Adviser Mushtaq Hossain was hopeful about a better situation as “the government has taken a few measures like imposing a week-long lockdown.”

He suggests that it takes at least two weeks to see a decline in transmission after a lockdown. “The decline in death toll will be slow. But if the people follow the health guidelines and the government imposes a strict lockdown, the infection and death rates might stabilize in the coming weeks.”

Bangladesh is set to go into another weeklong lockdown with strict measures, when offices would remain shut, from Wednesday.

The IEDCR official recommends that the government provide necessary supports for the poor people during the lockdown. “Otherwise, they will have to leave their home to earn their living and get exposed to the virus.”

He also said that the community centres in different neighbourhoods should be turned into temporary healthcare centres for the Covid-19 patients in critical condition.

Research for this story was done by Syed Abdullah Al Ahsan

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