Covid rising in the heartland

The Covid-19 infection is on the rise in Dhaka and 23 other districts, according to data from the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).

The authorities yesterday reported the highest daily positivity rate — 32.55 percent — after testing 20,827 samples across the country in 24 hours preceding 8:00pm yesterday.

With 195 deaths confirmed to be caused by Covid-19, the official death toll crossed the 19,000-mark.

Towards the end of last month, the districts surrounding Dhaka had been put under lockdown, and this was quickly followed by a nationwide lockdown beginning July 1.

But the lockdown was put on a ten-day hold for the Eid holidays, giving a scope for hundreds of cattle-laden trucks to enter the capital. Also, about a crore SIM card users left the capital to spend the festival in their villages.

This increased public and traffic movement apparently led to a rise in infections last week (July 16 to July 22), compared to the one before that (July 9 to July 15).

Narayanganj’s positivity rate jumped from 31 percent during the July 9- July 15 week to 38 percent last week. Meanwhile, Narsingdi’s positivity rate rose from 24 percent to 33 percent, shows DGHS data.

Shariatpur’s infection rate rose from 41 percent to an alarming 51 percent, while Jamalpur rose from 21 percent to 31 percent.

Kishoreganj’s positivity rate rose by three percentage points while Dhaka’s positivity rate rose by two percentage points within these two weeks.

Dhaka’s infection rate is 34 percent as of now.

“We have an apprehension that the transmission may start leaping a few days later as there were no restrictions during the Eid festivals,” Dr Abu Zamil Faisel, member of the Technical Advisory Group of the health directorate, told The Daily Star yesterday.

“Since our hospitals already are overburdened. If the situation worsens, it would be tough to handle it,” he added.

The district with the highest jump in the infection rate is Rangamati — the district had a positivity rate of 37 percent, and last week it was a whopping 77 percent. Out of 81 people tested, 62 turned out to be positive in Rangamati.

The second highest rise was seen by Thakurgaon, with a 26 percentage point increase where the current positivity rate is 68 percent.

The district with the sharpest decline is Kurigram, with the positivity rate dropping from 58 percent to 28 percent, shows the DGHS data.


Sc: The Daily Star