The government statistics showed that the death rate from novel coronavirus infection stood at 10.41 per cent as of Friday, the highest fatality rate compared to any country affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Bangladesh has so far confirmed 48 cases of coronavirus infection and five of them have died.
The death rate in Bangladesh is more than double the global rate of 4.5 per cent (20,834 deaths in 462,684 infected).
According to the WHO, the fatality rate is 4.01 per cent (32,93 deaths in 81,961 patients) in China, 7.21 per cent (3,434 deaths in 47,610) in Spain, 7.68 per cent (2,077 deaths in 27,017) in Iran, 0.54 per cent (198 deaths in 36,508) in Germany, 5.34 per cent (1,331 deaths in 24,920) in France and 1.39 per cent (884 deaths in 63,570) in the United States.
Only Italy, where 74,386 people were tested positive for coronavirus and 7,505 of them died, is closer to Bangladesh with 10.08 per cent fatality rate.
Though the number of coronavirus-infected patients is still low to reach a reasonable calculation of death rate, experts have said that the possible reason for the high death rate in Bangladeshi is that many people are going undetected.
The government’s disease monitoring arm, Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research has, however, different explanation.
‘The actual number of death from coronavirus in Bangladesh should be one, not five, as four of the five diseased were hospitalised with other complications, not with COVID-19,’ said IEDCR director Meerjady Sabrina Flora.
‘The four were detected later during their treatment,’ she told New Age, ‘but we’ve counted them in as they were found positive with the virus.’
Meerjady, also the government’s COVID-19 spokesperson, denied the experts’ observation that many patients were going undetected.
Noted virologist and former vice-chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Nazrul Islam said that the IEDCR was not capable of testing a large number of people and that was why many people remained undetected.
‘The death rate would have been low if all the patients have been identified,’ he told New Age.
Meerjady, however, denied that many people were going undetected and that they were not testing a large number of people.
The IEDCR statistics, however, show otherwise.
As of Friday, the IEDCR tested merely 1,026 people, including 106 in the past 24 hours, in the country of a population of more than 17 crore.
Nazrul said that the IEDCR’s testing capacity was not adequate and that all of those contracting the virus could not be examined.
The government is relying on only one testing facility at the IEDCR and tests were only conducted on those who had symptoms and had a direct contact with a person who had arrived from abroad and had already tested positive.
The government said on Thursday that three other test centres were installed — one at the Institute of Public Health in the capital’s Mohakhali, one at Dhaka Shishu Hospital and one in the port city of Chattogram.
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