2nd-time infections not being counted: Experts claim; 3,531 cases, 39 deaths reported

The Daily Star  June 22, 2020
Staff Correspondent

The rate of Covid-19 infections has slightly decreased, as the authorities reported 3,531 confirmed cases in the 24 hours till 2:30pm yesterday.

Experts, however, said the rate of positive cases may be higher as a good number of people who are testing positive for the second time are being included in the tally.

After testing 15,585 samples in 60 labs across the country yesterday, the rate was 22.66 percent as the total number of cases was 112,306.

On Saturday, the rate was 23.09 and 21.56 on Friday.

The Directorate General of Health Services also reported 39 more Covid-19 deaths in the same period, taking the count to 1,464.

With this, the death rate was 1.30 percent, said Dr Nasima Sultana, additional director general (administration) of the DGHS, during the regular briefing.

Earlier on June 16, authorities reported 53 deaths, the highest in a single day.

Meanwhile, 1,084 Covid-19 patients recovered, taking the total number of recoveries to 45,077.

According to Johns Hopkins University, Bangladesh was the 16th worst affected country in the world in terms of confirmed infections with 63,357 active cases in the country.

Of the deaths in the 24 hours till yesterday afternoon, 35 were male and four female, Nasima said, adding that 16 were from Dhaka, 11 from Chattogram, two from Rajshahi, one from Rangpur, one from Sylhet, four from Khulna and four from Barishal divisions.

Of them, 33 died at hospitals and six at home, the DGHS official said.

One of the dead was aged under 10, one between 21 and 30, six between 31 and 40, 12 between 41 and 50, 12 between 51 and 60, four between 61 and 70, two between 71 and 80 and another was between 81 and 90.

A total of 631 people were put under isolation in the same period in Dhaka division, she added.

There were also many deaths with Covid-19 symptoms in recent days.

According to a recent report by Centre for Genocide Studies at Dhaka University, 1,070 people died with Covid-19 symptoms between June 7 and 14.

Experts said the actual rate of transmission in the country is higher than what the authorities are reporting. There are many hidden cases as many people are still not being able to access testing facilities.

According to the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research, the infection rate in the country was 1.25, which means each infected person is infecting 1.25 people on an average.

However, experts said the number cannot be known as the current tests are not representative of the reality.

Prof Ridwanur Rahman, an infectious disease specialist, told The Daily Star recently, “If there were adequate number of tests and if those were done through representative sampling, the level of transmission could be measured far more accurately.”

Besides, the daily number of tests does not represent the actual number of people being tested every day.

An official linked to a testing facility told this newspaper on Saturday that at least 3,000 people are getting tested for the second time.

“So, actual number of daily tests remains stagnant — within 12,000,” said the official, requesting anonymity.

Dr Shafiun Shimul, an associate professor of health economics at DU, leads a team that helps the government make a projection of the Covid-19 transmission trend.

Speaking to The Daily Star on Saturday, he said, “There is a big gap in testing data. If the actual number of daily tests is below the data we get every day, then the transmission rate is higher.”

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