Responding to the much-discussed report run by The Economist over the number of infection cases in the capital city, Dr John D Clemens, who was mentioned on the report as reference, has clarified his position saying his statement was taken out of context.
Quoting him, The Economist report estimated that Dhaka city may already have as many as 750,000 cases.
In a press release on Saturday, John Clemens, executive director of the icddr,b, claimed that his statement was taken out of context in the article.
When asked how high the COVID-19 count might be, he indicated that icddr,b’s staff have been under intensive surveillance for COVID-19 since the beginning of the epidemic.
All employees with cough, fever, or shortness to breath are instructed to contact the Staff Clinic on a 24/7 hotline, and those with COVID-19 symptoms are instructed to be tested for COVID-19 by the icddr,b laboratories.
And for those who have COVID-19, icddr,b provides treatment, and in collaboration with IEDCR ensures isolation and does contact tracing.
To date, among the approximately 2,000 icddr,b employees who work at the icddr,b Mohakhali campus, 4-5 percent have been infected by COVID-19 with no apparent relation to transmission on the icddr,b campus.
Although this 4- 5 percent rate of COVID-19 disease among icddr,b employees may not be representative of all community transmission in Dhaka, and generalisation to the entire city may not be justifiable, if the figures are extrapolated to the entire population of Dhaka, one could derive a total cumulative case count of at least 750,000, he added.
icddrb is one of the world’s leading global health research institutes.