On June 29, Bangladesh confirmed 4,014 Covid-19 cases after testing 17,837 samples, which was 22.5 percent of the total number of tests done that day.
A week later on July 6, the country found 3,201 cases after testing 13,173 samples. The rate of infection was 22.47 for that day.
For the last one and a half months, the infection rate from the deadly virus has been fluctuating between 20 and 22 percent – no sharp increase or drop has been noticed in the curve.
On Thursday, Bangladesh reported 3,360 Covid-19 cases after testing 15,632 samples in the last 24 hours, which is 21.49 percent of the tests done during the period.
Now the question is, what does this steady infection rate mean for the country? Does this mean the virus is getting weaker here?
Professor Nazrul Islam, a noted virologist and former vice-chancellor of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, said the spread of the coronavirus has remained the same.
"The rate of infection did not decrease, but the number of tests has dropped from 18,000 to 13,000. Infection rate has been fluctuating between 19 and 22 percent since June," he added.
Dr M Mushtuq Husain, a health expert and advisor to the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), told The Business Standard that the static rate of infection does not mean that the spread of the virus is on the decline.
"Therefore, we see the number of new cases goes up when the number of tests increases," he added.
He said changes in the curve depend on two factors – the infection rate of samples and the efficiency of laboratories.
"We can question the efficiency of laboratories if there is a sharp fluctuation in confirmed cases from the same number of samples. The static infection rate means the efficiency of the laboratories is okay," added M Mushtuq.
He said as no dramatic initiatives had been taken to control the spread of the virus, then there is no way to think that infections from the virus are decreasing.
"Now a mass infection is happening in Bangladesh as we are in the last stage of the pandemic. If the infection rate jumps by 0.1 percent, then we have to understand that thousands of people are getting infected with the virus," he added.
He said in May, half of the total confirmed patients were from Dhaka, which is now one-third after June. It does not mean that the number of patients has dropped in Dhaka, rather it has increased here and outside Dhaka, too.
Meanwhile, during the daily virtual briefing, Additional Director General of the health directorate Professor Dr Nasima Sultana confirmed 41 more deaths from the novel coronavirus in 24 hours till Thursday morning.
With this, the death toll from the deadly virus rose to 2,238 and the number of total infections stood at 175,494.
Of the deceased, 29 were men and 12 women. Of them, 12 were from Dhaka, 14 from Chattogram, six from Khulna, three from Rangpur and two each from Sylhet, Mymensingh and Rajshahi divisions.
Dr Nasima said 38 of them died in different hospitals and three at their respective homes.
A gender-wise analysis of the victims stated that some 1,770 people who have died from Covid-19 are male and 468 are female, which are 79.09 percent and 20.91 percent respectively.
District-wise data says that out of the 2,151 fatalities till date, 50.40 percent hailed from Dhaka division, 26.14 percent from Chattogram, 5.01 percent from both Rajshahi and Khulna, 4.33 percent from Sylhet, 3.62 percent from Barishal, 3.08 percent from Rangpur and 2.41 percent from Mymensingh.
Besides, 3,706 patients have recovered during the time, increasing the tally to 84,544.
Dr Nasima said that around 48.17 percent of novel coronavirus patients – both symptomatic and asymptomatic – have recovered in Bangladesh so far, while 1.28 percent have died.
Currently, 63,106 people are quarantined across the country, including 2,282 newly-quarantined individuals. A total of 323,475 people have completed their quarantine course.
The country is capable of accommodating 31,991 people at 629 institutional quarantine facilities across the country.