Covid cases, deaths climb
As deaths from Covid-19 and the number of new cases continue rising, experts fear the transmission rate may rise further in the coming weeks.
They suggested boosting Covid-19 transmission control activities by increasing daily tests and isolating the positive cases.
Yesterday, the health directorate reported 28 coronavirus-related deaths -- the highest number of daily deaths recorded in more than 10 weeks.
On January 7, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) reported 31 deaths. Since then, both deaths and new cases declined till mid to late February, after which the trend reversed and new infections crossed the 1,000 mark on March 10.
From March 9, the numbers have started spiking and shown a steady rise roughly every day, with experts speculating that a new variant -- probably the UK one, the South African or a locally mutated one -- is contributing to the rise.
Meanwhile, the health ministry yesterday issued a notice to five public hospitals in Dhaka to stay prepared to tackle the rising number of Covid-19 patients.
The hospitals are Lalkuthi Hospital in Mirpur, Dhaka Mohanagar Hospital, Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College and Hospital, DNCC Corona Isolation Centre, and Sarkari Kormochari Hospital.
Yesterday, a total of 2,809 people tested positive for the highly transmissible virus in 24 hours till 8:00am. That number is also the highest in the last seven months.
On August 20, a total of 2,868 people tested positive.
The daily positivity rate also went up to 11.19 percent against a total of 25,111 tests. This rate is the highest in last two months.
The previous day, the positivity rate was 10.29 percent.
"The transmission trend is a steeply rising one. The transmission pattern suggests the new variants -- locally mutated or imported ones -- may be contributing to it. I think we will see higher transmissions in the coming days," Prof Ridwanur Rahman, an infectious disease and medicine specialist, told The Daily Star yesterday.
With the latest count, the total number of novel coronavirus cases rose to 5,73,687 since the first three patients were detected in the country on March 8 last year.
Besides, the total number of deaths rose to 8,720.
"The number of tests is too few considering the level of transmission. The activities to curb the transmission is also not adequate, while people are also not maintaining health safety guidelines," Dr Mushtuq Hussain, consultant at the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), told this newspaper yesterday.
There is no alternative to increasing tests and isolating the detected cases, he opined.
Prof Ridwanur said, "Unless we go for rigorous activity to control the spread of the virus, the transmission will continue until 70 or 80 percent of the population become infected."