Delta wreaks havoc even when it is under lockdown

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Bangladesh reported 230 Covid-19 deaths yesterday, the greatest single-day toll in the country’s history, which is confronting a gloomy reality as the incidence of the more virulent Delta variety rises despite the lockdown.

Health officials warned that the worst was yet to come and that the situation might worsen in the coming week if the infection rate is not brought under control.

According to the Directorate General of Health Services, the country also registered the greatest number of new cases — 11,874 — in a 24-hour period yesterday (DGHS).

“There would be no hospital beds vacant in the next seven to ten days if the current infection rate and patients’ rush to hospitals continue,” Dr Robed Amin, DGHS spokeswoman, said yesterday at a virtual briefing on the Covid-19 crisis.

According to DGHS data, there were only 301 ICU beds available as of yesterday midday, out of a total of 1,263 across the country.

According to Robed Amin, the Delta strain, which was discovered in India, is killing not only older individuals but also children.

Previously, the Institute of Epidemiology and Disease Control (IEDCR) reported that the Delta variant was responsible for 78 percent of infection in samples sequenced in June.

Experts, on the other hand, say the country is already in a “disastrous” scenario, which could worsen as the Eid holidays approach later this month. They also suggested that the government extend the lockdown, which is presently in effect until July 14, in order to halt the virus’s spread, which has reached rural areas across the country.

According to DGHS data, Khulna division had the most deaths (66) in the 24 hours preceding 8:00 a.m. yesterday, followed by Dhaka division (56).

39 people killed in Chattogram, 26 in Rajshahi, 22 in Rangpur, eight in Barishal and Sylhet, and five in Mymensingh, among other divisions.

According to a DGHS press release, the number of new cases increased by 37.54 percent from the previous week to Saturday.

The number of deaths has likewise increased by 48.66%.

According to the most recent figures, the overall number of confirmed cases has risen to 10,21,189, with a death toll of 16,419. Yesterday, the optimism rating was 29.67%, down from more than 31 percent the day before.

Meanwhile, State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury stated Tuesday that the government may keep the lockdown in place if the National Technical Advisory Committee (NTAC) on Covid-19 recommends it.

“The current limits can be maintained if the Covid-19 advisory group recommends it. However, the current circumstances does not allow for a return to normalcy “Yesterday, Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury told reporters at the secretariat.

According to Robed Amin, “Covid-19 has spread to all districts in all divisions and is on the rise, so are the deaths… If we don’t get it under control within the next week, the situation will deteriorate.”

‘RESTRICTIONS SHOULD CONTINUE’

Robed Amin advised people to follow health safety requirements, claiming that many people continue to walk outside despite the fact that there is no need to.

Experts also stated that even after 11 days, the impact of the continuous lockdown, which has been in effect since July 1, has been less than anticipated.

According to IEDCR specialist Prof Mushtuq Hussain, “For the following week, there will be an increase in deaths. Despite the lockout, the transmission rate has remained constant. As a result, the limits must be maintained.”

If the government reduces the lockdown for economic operations and people return to their home districts for Eid-ul-Azha, which will be celebrated in the country on July 21, he fears that the transmission may worsen in the cities.

Infectious disease expert Prof Ridwanur Rahman agreed with Hussain.

“We are already in a bad situation as a result of insufficient testing in rural areas. Patients are arriving late at district hospitals due to a lack of transportation during the shutdown “Prof Ridwanur Rahman said in an interview with The Daily Star yesterday.

In this context, Dr. Mushtuq Hussain advised the government to establish community-based field hospitals by involving local residents.

“While there is a plan to create five new field hospitals in Dhaka, it is more necessary to build field hospitals in the communities. The new strategy will be ineffective “Dr. Mushtuq explained.

To combat the spike in infections, Health Minister Zahid Maleque stated on Saturday that the convention center of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University would be converted into a Covid field hospital.

According to World Health Organization estimations, the Delta version, which was initially discovered in India, is 55 percent more transmissible than the Alpha variant, which was itself roughly 50 percent more transmissible than the original Wuhan virus.

The Delta strain was discovered in Bangladesh on May 8, and it has caused health crises in Khulna and Rajshahi before spreading to other parts of the country.

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