Are we doing anything about the latest spike in Covid infections?
Health experts had warned earlier that if the Indian variant of Covid-19 (also known as Delta variant) can make its way into areas other than the bordering ones, Bangladesh will likely witness more than 20,000 covid-19 cases a day in early July. It seems that this prediction is becoming real, given the rise in Covid-19 cases all around the country. According to a DS report published yesterday, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) told that the Covid-19 transmission rate has increased by 27.2 percent this week, which is the highest in the last three weeks. DGHS is considering the Delta/Indian variant of Covid-19 as the possible reason behind this sudden spike in infections.
Two districts, namely Khulna and Rajshahi, are bearing the brunt of this increased rate of the infection the most. As Khulna borders with Satkhira which in turn borders India, all the Covid-19 patients of the Indian variant are gathering at Khulna Medical College Hospital (KMCH) as there aren't any proper facilities for Covid-19 treatment in Satkhira's hospitals. Same goes for Rajshahi, which borders Chapainawabganj, which in turn borders India. The positivity rate, the number of new cases and the number of deaths emanating from Covid-19- all are showing an upward trajectory across the nation. KMCH even had to stop admitting new patients as it didn't have enough capacity to tackle the huge number. Out of the 100-bed capacity, there are 131 Covid-19 patients who are undergoing treatment at KMCH right now. There is also the possibility of the Delta variant reaching other areas in the mainland including Dhaka which may be underprepared according to experts.
Putting the bordering districts and districts near to the bordering ones into strict and complete lockdown is the first thing that the government has to do to combat the emergence of a new variant of the deadly Covid-19 epidemic. Inter-district transport system has to be stopped too. Hospitals in the bordering areas need to be given sufficient equipment and manpower so that all the burden doesn't fall on a few hospitals. It goes without saying these hospitals are in urgent need of increasing capacity—more ICU beds, testing capacity and uninterrupted oxygen supply. Although these basic requirements should have been fulfilled weeks ago, now there is no time to waste as lives are being lost because of lack of essential facilities in these hospitals.