The Covid-19 infection rate is still high in the country despite the fact that the numbers of new cases and deaths have decreased in the seventh month of the pandemic. There are fears that the infection rate will increase in the upcoming winter when the first wave is not over yet.
In this situation, experts have urged the government to take appropriate action to deal with the second wave.
The first three Covid-19 positive patients were identified in the country on March 8. In March, there were 51 positive cases along with five deaths. In the next two months, 47,102 patients were identified as having Covid-19 and the number of deaths was 645.
The country's virus situation intensified in June. From June to August, the number of infections and deaths was the highest in the country. In these three months, 2,65,847 people tested positive and 3,631 died. Since September, the number of new infections has been on the decline. From September to 8 October, 61,596 people tested positive and 1,179 died.
From June to mid-August, coronavirus infection rates in the country hovered between 20 percent and 23 percent. The rate of infection started to decrease at the end of August. However, the rate of infection has since remained stable at 12 percent.
Professor Dr Nazrul Islam, former vice-chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University and noted virologist, told the Business Standard, "The infection rate in the country is still 12 percent, which is not very low. The infection rate is not falling below 12 percent because people are not maintaining health rules and proper measures have not been taken to control the infection. According to the World Health Organisation, the situation is considered normal if the infection rate is below five percent for two consecutive weeks."
People are getting the wrong message because the Department of Health has stopped briefing. Ordinary people think that coronavirus infection has decreased. If you do not follow the health rules, the infection may increase suddenly.
"People are getting the wrong message because the Department of Health has stopped briefing. Ordinary people think that coronavirus infection has decreased. If you do not follow the health rules, the infection may increase suddenly. The infection rate will decrease when everyone wears a mask and takes appropriate measures to control the infection in the red zone," said Professor Nazrul.
"In addition, to reduce deaths, hospitals' medical system needs to be further improved, and the supply of high-flow oxygen needs to be increased," he noted.
What to do now?
The second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has appeared in different countries of the world. Although the first wave in the country is not over yet, experts fear that the infection will increase in winter.
On September 20, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina asked everyone to be aware of the second wave.
Recently, Health Minister Zahid Malek said, "It is not sure whether the first wave is yet over in the country. And I do not know if the second wave will come. However, we are warning everyone by letter that the infection may increase in winter. We will be more prepared. We hope that the number of infections will not increase if everyone is aware."
Professor Liaquat Ali, biomedical scientist and educationalist, told the Business Standard, "Infections in winter can increase due to a number of environmental, personal and social factors. Droplets dry very quickly and become aerosol due to low humidity in winter."
In winter, if the doors and windows of the house and vehicle are kept closed, the aerosol will float in the air. If there are more people indoors, the aerosol will accumulate more and the infectious dose of the virus will increase
"If you do not wear a mask, the dried aerosols will stay in the air for a longer time. In winter, if the doors and windows of the house and vehicle are kept closed, the aerosol will float in the air. If there are more people indoors, the aerosol will accumulate more and the infectious dose of the virus will increase. It will increase infection," he explained.
Whether coronavirus is an airborne disease is still debated. But recently, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention now says the coronavirus can spread through airborne particles that can linger in the air "for minutes or even hours" - even among people having a gap of more than six feet among them.
Professor Liaquat Ali, also a member of the government-formed Public Health Advisors' Group, said, "Cold and cough reduce immunity. Which is one of the reasons for the increase in infections in winter. There is also a social factor- social festivals including weddings, picnics increase in winter."
Wearing a mask should be made compulsory. Public health measures should be more important than vaccines to control Covid-19 infections in the country
"It is now very difficult to take any steps across the country to control the infection. Awareness, treatment facilities need to be further enhanced now. In winter, more importance should be given to ventilation. Wearing a mask should be made compulsory. Public health measures should be more important than vaccines to control Covid-19 infections in the country," he added.
Dr M Mushtuq Hussain, Covid-19 pandemic control consultant at the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research, said, "The number of deaths would increase if the infection increases. As a result, other patients will not receive hospital services. The economy will suffer. The health rules must be maintained. The number of tests should also be increased."