Bangladesh has defied experts’ forecast by crossing 8,000 Covid-19 deaths after 312 days – much slower than several other countries around the world.
Health experts initially believed that the Covid-19 pandemic would spell disaster for the country, due to its high population density and general reluctance to follow health guidelines. Even now, many experts question whether data on the pandemic in Bangladesh are accurate and painting the real picture of the situation.
According to the world meter, Bangladesh ranked 37th in total deaths among nations with a significant number of infections as of 4 pm on Saturday. In South Asia, the country ranked third.
The data said there has been one death for every 66 cases in Bangladesh, while there has been one death for every 69 cases in India.
Pakistan has recorded fewer cases than Bangladesh, with 530,818 as compared to 531,326, but the former has seen significantly more deaths (11,247).
Bhutan is among the countries that have best dealt with the pandemic, recording just one death from a total of 851 cases.
One person has died for every 45 cases In Myanmar, while 1 person has died for every 23 cases in Afghanistan.
The US has seen one death for every 60 cases, while the UK recorded one death for every 37 cases.
Iran has recorded one death against 24 cases, while Indonesia recorded one death against 35 cases.
The trend of the pandemic
Within ten days of the first cases of Covid-19 being detected in Bangladesh, the health authorities announced the first death from Covid-19 in the country on March 18.
The number of deaths rose slowly for the first month but started to climb faster from the middle of April. The death rate then rose sharply in May and continued at that rate through October and into November.
The beginning of winter in November brought another sharp rise in the number of deaths. A total of 161 deaths were recorded from November 2-11, before 297 deaths were recorded from November 29 to December 8.
In January, the death rate began decreasing. Fewer than 200 deaths were recorded from January 4-13, and the death toll in the nine days till Saturday stood at 148.
Dhaka remains top contributor to Covid-19 deaths
In line with the global trend, urban areas of Bangladesh, particularly the capital Dhaka, have been the chief contributors to the country’s Covid-19 death toll.
As of January 23, Dhaka had contributed 55.63% of the death toll and Chittagong was in second place with 18.32%.
Khulna has contributed 6.81% of the death toll, Rajshahi 5.7%, Rangpur 4.44%, Sylhet 3.76%, Barisal 3.01% and Mymensingh 2.34%.
Experts fear data are misleading
Experts claim the data provided by health authorities have not been depicting the actual scene as there is insufficient testing, research and follow-up.
Professor Sultana Shahana Banu of the virology department at Dhaka Medical College Hospital said Bangladesh needed to follow the example of India and ramp up testing as well as research into Covid-19.
“The socio-economic and ecological conditions of Bangladesh and India are very similar, but India has been able to maintain fewer deaths per case as they have been testing more,” the professor said.
Professor Banu also called for measures to detect the new variant of Covid-19 in the UK, as it was significantly more contagious than the older variants.