With the resurgence in infections in the country, Covid-19 patients are not responding well to the treatment guidelines developed in the last one year, doctors say.
Dr Muhammad Asaduzzaman, head of the intensive care unit (ICU) at Kuwait Bangladesh Friendship Government Hospital, told The Business Standard the new wave had brought about alarming changes.
"Previously, a patient's condition would get worse within eight to twelve days of getting infected. But now their condition is much worse when they come to the ICU.
"We have been following a standard treatment guideline since the beginning. Previously patients would respond well to that, which is not the case anymore," he explained.
Dr Nazneen Rahman, an anaesthesiologist at the 500-bed Kurmitola General Hospital, also termed this development "alarming".
She said many patients earlier would feel better with high-flow nasal cannula, but now the response is not like before.
The physician further added that another change caused by the new wave is that many young patients are now being admitted to the ICU. "We've also got patients under the age of 30 in the ICU. Now many patients in the age group of 30-40 years are being found."
The novel coronavirus broke out in the country in March last year and infections were high till August. The infection curve then began to show a downward trend.
But infections have been rising again since March this year. Experts believe the second wave of infections has started in the country now.
Dr Shoman Aniruddha, an anaesthesiologist at the ICU of Mugda General Hospital, told The Business Standard that even if a patient's condition turned worse previously, it used to remain stable at one stage but now this is not happening.
"We are even getting patients whose RTPCR report is Covid negative but a CT scan or X-ray shows that the lung has been badly affected. Now the haemoglobin level of many patients is declining, which was not the case before."
The physician went on to say that they are now compelled to give treatment according to the needs of the patient, even going beyond the guidelines.
Bangladesh on Sunday saw a steep rise in Covid-19 daily infection rate as the country recorded 17.65% infection in the past 24 hours. This is the highest daily infection rate in the last 111 days.
On Saturday, Covid-19 infection rate in the country was 14.90%.
In the last 24 hours, 3,908 people tested positive for Covid-19, which is the second highest number of cases in a single day. Earlier, on 2 July last year, 4,019 people tested Covid-19 positive on a day.
The number of novel coronavirus cases in the country now stands at 5,95,714.
The country confirmed 35 more deaths from the novel coronavirus in the last 24 hours, taking the country's death toll to 8,904.
Dr Muhammad Asaduzzaman said so far there is no specific treatment for Covid.
"Treatment is being provided as per the WHO and our guidelines. There is no alternative to following the hygiene rules and avoiding public gatherings to avoid infection. But now no one except those who are suffering in the ICU or their families understands the horrors of Corona."
He warned that the situation will be direr in the second wave, if emphasis is not placed on the prevention of infections.
Only 3 ICU beds vacant at public hospitals in Dhaka
Due to the spike in infections, hospitals are now getting overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients.
According to the health directorate, only three of the 108 ICU beds in the Covid-dedicated 10 government hospitals in the capital Dhaka are vacant. Besides, 43 ICU beds are vacant in private hospitals.
Out of 3,329 general beds at 19 public and private Covid-dedicated hospitals, 787 are vacant at present.
Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus patients admitted to Kurmitola General Hospital currently is 150 higher than the number of beds there.
Patients are not getting beds in the ICUs even after visiting different hospitals.
Dr Muhammad Asaduzzaman said, "The list of waiting patients for ICU is getting longer. We are getting a lot of requests but can't allocate seats."
Kurmitola Hospital now has 30-40 calls for a bed in the ICU, up from 15 before, said Dr Nazneen Rahman.