From the very beginning of the outbreak of Covid-19 in Bangladesh, Dhaka was always in the danger zone. However, what the IEDCR-icddr,b survey revealed about the Covid-19 scenario of the capital is shocking.
The IEDCR-icddr,b survey has revealed that around 9 percent residents of Dhaka city is infected with coronavirus. If we convert the percentage into number, the number of infected residents of Dhaka is almost nine times higher than the total infected official number in the country.
The study showed that every 9 out of 100 people roaming in the capital is infected with covid-19, and there are asymptomatic patients among them as well. This is very alarming. We do not know who is infected or who is not. Yet, we roam outside without masks as if nothing has happened.
The study also showed how miserably we have failed to contain the virus. We were unable to keep people at home, and we have failed to bring them to the hospitals as well.
When the virus first broke out in the country, many patients had to return home as the hospitals refused to admit them. People waited outside the hospitals without getting any help. Older people and children have died without getting any kind of treatment.
Now the hospitals are saying that, come to the hospitals, we will treat you. But what happened earlier left a bad impression amongst the citizens, and most of them do not trust the hospitals anymore.
Another aspect is that the government has tried keeping people inside their homes but failed. People were often seen jumping over the fence to get out from the locked-down areas. This occurred due to the negligence of our countrymen and our tendency to take things lightly.
Another aspect that came to light through the study is that sic percent of slum dwellers are infected with the virus. However, I would still say that this number is relatively lower compared to that of other parts of the city. There are many scientific arguments behind this, but in terms of Covid-19, there is no concrete evidence.
The rate should have been higher in the slum area as they cannot maintain proper hygiene or social distance. Also, they do not even use masks most of the time. But, if the other city dwellers start living like them, if not dying of Covid-19, they will surely catch other diseases and die from those.
As the study has given us an idea about the scale of infection in the city, we should take measures to identify the patients as soon as we can and bring them into quarantine. We will also have to ensure that these patients are not being stigmatised.
I hope this study will make us more aware of the situation, making us more responsible.
Professor Nazrul Islam is a noted virologist and former vice-chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University.