ICU occupancy galloping
Compared to June 1, the number of beds occupied at hospitals in the capital more than doubled as of yesterday, showing how fast the health crisis induced by the Covid-19 is deepening across the city.
During the 26-day period, the number of patients occupying the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds at the hospitals went up by 111.56 percent while general beds saw an increase of 102.34 percent in occupancy, according to data from the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
This is the case before a week-long complete lockdown to be imposed from Thursday to stem surges in cases amid another Covid wave.
The data shows that the occupancy rate at the city hospitals has been increasing steadily -- by one percentage point or more -- every day over the last month.
Still, only 40 percent of the hospital beds were filled as of yesterday, according to the DGHS data.
Yesterday, every single one of the beds at Kurmitola General Hospital had patients while 61 percent of the beds at Dhaka Medical College Hospital and half the beds at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University were occupied.
None of the ICU beds at Kurmitola hospital, DMCH, Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College and Hospital and Mugda Medical College and Hospital was available yesterday.
Only six percent of the beds at BIRDEM and 10 percent at BSMMU were empty, shows the DGHS data.
Among private hospitals, Uttara Crescent Hospital, Bangladesh Specialized Hospital Limited, and LabAid Hospital had zero ICU beds empty yesterday.
At Popular hospital, 97 beds were filled, while both United Hospital and Green Life had over 65 beds occupied. Evercare hospital's Covid-19 beds were three-fourths full.
On Friday, the DGHS reported that 108 people died of Covid-19 in 24 hours, which was the second highest daily deaths in the country since the first cases were confirmed in March last year.
The daily death toll was 77 yesterday but cases continued to surge, leaving a lot to worry about.
The Covid-19 International Modelling Consortium's Bangladesh team has, meanwhile, forecast that the peak of this wave will be sometime after the first week of next month.
The CoMo Consortium was created by researchers at University of Oxford, Cornell University and partners with infectious disease modellers from over 40 countries in the world to provide forecasts of the disease.
The Bangladesh team includes Mofakhar Hussain of the University of Toronto, Abu Jamil Faisel, member of the public health and epidemiology committee of the DGHS, Prof Syed Abdul Hamid and Prof Nasrin Sultana of Dhaka University, Abdul Kuddus of James Cook University, Australia, and Shafiun Shimul, an associate professor of health economics at Dhaka University, who leads the projection team.
They ran the forecast model yesterday and found that this wave could hit the ceiling with as many as 7,909 daily cases.
"This is what we will observe if the [Covid-19] testing capacity remains the same. If we can test more people, the number of daily cases may go up to 12,000 and beyond," Prof Shafiun to The Daily Star.
Yesterday, the country registered 4,334 new cases.
Asked whether the lockdown would make any difference, Prof Shafiun said, "This forecast was done keeping in mind the lack of shutdowns till June 30, so it is not likely that the predictions will change by a lot," he said.