For the last few days, besides the spiraling death toll, the number of Covid patients has also been increasing at an alarming rate in the country.
During recent visits to different slums in the capital, it was found that most people are walking around without masks with no concern for social distancing. Most of them are not at all interested in getting vaccinated.
So far, no class-based statistics on Covid patients in the country is available. However, no significant number of deaths and infections in more or less 3,000 small and big slums under the two city corporations has been reported yet.
Slum dwellers said they are not afraid of corona, but they are very concerned about their future livelihoods as they fear that they will become unemployed again if another lockdown is declared. They are worried about how to run their families.
Health experts say that in the current situation, the increasing number of corona infections does not mean that people from lower income groups will not be affected at all. This socio-economic class needs to be looked at seriously now. They should be informed about the dangers of the new variant of corona. They have to be encouraged to be vaccinated and they must be provided with adequate financial support.
Monwara Begum, a 60-year-old woman living in Mohakhali's Sattola slum, maintains her family selling cakes on the streets. Many people were found thronging around her shop. They were rickshaw pullers, night guards, and garment workers. None of them was wearing a mask. When asked if they had been vaccinated, they all said, "NO."
Monwara Begum said, "What do you need a vaccine for? I don't believe in corona. If corona was really true, one or another would have died in this slum. No one has died yet."
"I am not afraid of corona anymore. If I was going to die, I would have died a long time ago. I suffered from fever once last year, and then I got better. Now, I am just fine," she added.
"However, I am worried about how to run the family if I have to close down my cake stall due to another lockdown," the woman said in frustration.
Rahima Begum, 45, a shopkeeper next door, said, "I don't have any fever, so, I didn't test for corona. The people of BRAC took the national ID card numbers of some slum dwellers long ago in the name of vaccination. But there is no news anymore. We are not interested in getting vaccinated."
Visiting the whole slum, no one was found wearing a mask. No practice of hygiene rules was visible. At least 20 people in Sattola slum were asked if they had been vaccinated against coronavirus. They all answered 'no'. None of them had heard about anybody who had been vaccinated in the slum.
It seems slum dwellers are not paying attention to the increasing number of corona infections in the country.
Ironically, next to the Sattola slum, there is a corona sample collection booth at Mohakhali Infectious Diseases Hospital.
Abdullah, 50, an Ansar member, who has been on duty at the hospital for the past six months, said, "Most of those who come to the hospital for vaccination are rich people. They bring their family members by car. I have not seen anybody from lower income groups coming to get vaccinated."
Asked if he had been vaccinated, Abdullah said, "I have not been vaccinated yet, but they have told me that I will be."
The same situation prevailed at Nayabazar slum in Kalyanpur of the capital. A few people were playing ludu and many more were gathered aroundto watch the game. No one was wearing a mask, and none cared for social distancing.
Garment worker Parul Begum, 48, said, "Most of the people who got vaccinated at our garment factory are suffering from fever. I will get the vaccine at the end of it all."
Saying that Covid is a disease for the rich, she said, "It will not affect the poor by the grace of Allah."
"No one in this slum has been infected with corona, no tests have been done, and no one has died. But the owner of this slum, who is very rich, died of corona a few days ago," she said in detail.