Prof Dr Shakil Ahmed
While the coronavirus disease cases climbed to 7,103 in Bangladesh with a death toll of 163 until April 29 and cured cases were only 150 (www.iedcr.gov.bd). However, the number of recoveries swelled phenomenally some days later, almost 2,000 in a single day!
Now the total confirmed cases are 14,228 and cured cases 2,650 as of May 11. Even the percentage point in testing the suspects is rising with every passing day. These statistics are creating confusion and panic in general population as well as within the service-providing communities (health care providers, bureaucracy and policy-makers) in Bangladesh.
The reason is obvious. The number of deaths is more than the number of cured patients. The common masses are comparing the global figures in the virus pandemic—the total number of cases are 4,180,922, deaths 283,868 (16%) and cured 1,493,401 (84%) (as of 9:42 am BDT on May 11, 2020, according to the worldometers.info/coronavirus).
In Bangladesh, the total deaths from the deadly COVID-19 malady is 2.29% and cured patients is 2.11%, which is a sharp contrast to the global figures and fueling confusion further ahead.
According to the official briefings in Bangladesh, the death cases are only reported in the health care facilities and if anyone diagnosed positive posthumously. The cured patients are those discharged from health care facilities.
A joint mission report submitted by the WHO and China on February 28 on COVID-19 stated that mild cases could be cured by two weeks and moderate to severe cases takes three to six weeks to cure. As most COVID-19 cases are mild (70-80 per cent) and they will be cured in two weeks.
According to DGHS and IEDCR websites, the number of cases diagnosed in two weeks (till April 16) was 1,568 and deaths during that time were 60.
From this perspective, it can be safely deducted that 1,097 to 1,255 cases were mild (70-80 per cent) and has been cured by April 30. The rest of the cases are either on treatment, discharged with cure or died afterwards.
Again, from that lot, according to global mortality rate (6.9%) total number of cases died would be 108. As 60 has already died till April 16, estimated death from the cases till April 16 would be 48, indicates another substantial number of cases are either cured or till under treatment.
Now if we look back, there are about 1,255-plus cases cured in Bangladesh instead of just 150.
Official figures, if published with the above calculations will alley much worry and the panic of general public on COVID-19. This will also help reduce stigmatisation of health care workers engaged in the management of patients. In any pandemic, one of the most important tasks of the state is to keep panic button in off mode.