Last week was the deadliest of the Covid-19 pandemic in Bangladesh with 371 deaths in just six days until Friday.
With 63 deaths and 7,462 fresh infections in the past 24 hours until Friday morning, the country's death toll now stands at 9,584 with a fatality rate of 1.42%.
The infection rate currently stands at 23.57% as the total caseload reaches 6,73,594.
Health experts warned that even more people will likely die in the next two-three weeks as the daily infection has crossed the 7,000-mark on several days.
Bangladesh is passing its 57th week of the pandemic. On Thursday, the country recorded 73 deaths – the highest single-day fatality count so far.
Public health experts said mortality would rise if the infection keeps spiking. They advocated for curbing the infection, expanding the medical capacity as well reducing deaths from the virus.
Hospitals in Bangladesh have already been overrun by virus patients as sufferings due to the scarcity of intensive care units (ICU) have been intensifying.
According to health directorate data, the weekly death tally edged up to 308 in 5-11 July last year – the 18th week of the virus outbreak in the country. Physicians believe the surge in death and infection marked the peak of the first wave of the pandemic.
In the previous week ending 3 April, the weekly deaths rose to 344.
According to the health directorate, male victims account for 74.84% of the total deaths while females are 25.16%. Most of the victims were 60 years old or above. Dhaka division accounts for 58% of the total deaths.
Death rate among the youths in the current second wave of the pandemic worries physicians. In the past 24 hours until Friday, seven people aged between 21 and 40 died from the infection.
Dr Nazneen Rahman, an anaesthesiologist at the 500-bed Kurmitola General Hospital, told The Business Standard that many young patients are now being admitted to the ICU. "We are getting critical patients below 30, and many of them now need intensive care."
Patients' condition now deteriorating fast
The International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) Wednesday said the number of Covid-19 patients is increasing rapidly due to the prevalence of the South African variant of Covid-19 in Bangladesh.
"The South African variant occupied 81% of the variants in the fourth week of March in Bangladesh," the icddr,b said. According to media reports, the South African variant is 70% more virulent.
In the meantime, Bangladesh has reported the presence of the UK variant, which also infects more people quickly.
Doctors say the condition of patients with the new variants is deteriorating fast. Besides, several people in the same family are being infected with the coronavirus now.
Dr Shoman Aniruddha, an anesthesiologist at the ICU of Mugda General Hospital, told TBS that patients' condition is worsening fast now.
"Patients earlier used to get severely ill eight-ten days after developing the virus symptoms. But now they deteriorate within a couple of days and do not show any development for a long time," Dr Aniruddha said.
The doctor said most of their patients now need oxygen. Besides, this time they are getting patients with haemoglobin levels falling fast, which is completely new.
Prof Sayedur Rahman, chairman of the Department of Pharmacology at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, said the country's death rate is still low compared to other countries.
"With the hospitals already overwhelmed, now there will be many deaths that could be prevented with treatments," he noted.
Prof Sayedur advocated for expanding the existing health infrastructure immediately.
"If necessary, the health facilities of the army or other forces should be expanded into field hospitals," he noted.