The number of Covid-19 cases in the port city of Chattogram has crossed one lakh in the 17 months since Covid-19 hit the country. People over 50 top the list of infections and deaths.
No fewer than 1,251 people have died during this period. In the beginning, the death toll in the city was high, but in the last three months, more deaths have been occurring in the rural regions even though the detection rate was less.
Public health experts have blamed the lack of awareness among rural people for the rise in infection and deaths in villages.
According to a report from the Chattogram District Civil Surgeon's Office on Monday, samples of 1,252 people were tested on Sunday. Of them, 76 people were found to be infected. Among them 50 are residents of the city and 26 are from different upazilas. The infection rate was 6.2%. On this day one died in Chattogram metropolis and four died in the village.
The first Covid-19 patient was identified on 3 April 2020 in Chattogram and the first Covid-19 patient died on 9 April.
To date, 1,121 people in Chattogram have tested positive, of which 72,702 are from the metropolitan area, which is 72.65% of the total number of cases identified. On the other hand, 27,419 people from 14 upazilas have been detected with the virus, which is 27.35% of the total number of cases.
In the last 17 months, the recovery rate from Covid-19 in Chattogram has been 72.68%.
Among the Covid-19 patients who died in Chattogram, 696 were residents of the city and 555 were residents of different upazilas.
DEATHS IN VILLAGES RISING FAST FOR A WEEK
According to the Chittagong Civil Surgeon's office, 18 people have died in 14 upazilas of Chattogram in the last one week, which is about 70% of all deaths in the district during this period.
Earlier, from 19 June to 2 July, 53 people died in Chattogram due to the Covid-19 virus in these 14 days. Of these, 35 died in the villages or in the upazilas of Chattogram district, which is 66.03% of the total number of deaths. The mortality rate in the city at this time was 33.96%.
Health experts say poor rural health care, lack of awareness and low vaccination rates have been causing more deaths in Covid-19.
Chattogram Civil Surgeon Sheikh Fazle Rabbi said, "There is a lot of awareness among the residents of the city. Although the villagers got more vaccinations in the first phase, they were less interested in getting vaccinated in the second phase. Besides, villagers are also delaying getting post-Covid-19 treatment."
Chattogram City Corporation Chief Health Officer Dr Selim Akhter Chowdhury said, "Villagers believe that Covid-19 affects the rich only and villages will not be affected. So, they rarely adhere to health hygiene rules."
At the upazila level, Covid-19 samples are available at Chittagong University Lab in Hathazari and Patia Health Complex. In the rest of the upazilas, samples are collected from the upazila health complex and tested in the labs of the city. However, villagers do not evince any interest in sample testing due to a lack of awareness.
PEOPLE OVER 50 ARE MOST VULNERABLE
With an infection rate of 29.1%, the highest incidence of Covid-19 in Chattogram is in the age group of 50 years and above, followed by the ages of 31 and 40, with an infection rate of 22.96%.
Between those of 21 and 30 years of age, the infection rate is 20.52%, among 41 to 50 the rate is 18.6% and the infection rate of 11 to 20 years is 7.76% and between the ages of 1 to 10 years it is 2.65%.
Dr Gautam Buddha Das, Vice Chancellor, Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, told The Business Standard, "Patients who did not take vaccine are getting admitted to hospitals more. Besides, elderly people and those with weaker immune systems suffer from respiratory problems for up to 20 days, with many of them requiring ICU service."
The district civil surgeon said, "We started dealing with the epidemic in March last year in a very unprepared state. From the beginning, we have considered Chattogram as the riskiest place. Over time, we have added new equipment to Covid-19 treatment."
"At present, we can provide institutional treatment to 3,906 people. However, most of the patients are recovering with treatment at home. There are 236 ICU beds in Chattogram, of which only 26 are in government hospitals. There are 26 central oxygen systems, of which 12 are in public hospitals. Apart from that, there are 171 high flow nasal cannulas, 32 ventilators and 60 oxygen concentrators," he added.