Bangladesh's daily Covid-19 test positivity rate rose to 18.59% while the death toll to 13,399 with 54 new fatalities in 24 hours until early Friday amid the extension of the ongoing countrywide lockdown till July 15.
The new positivity rate is the highest in two months. On Thursday, the daily test positivity rate dropped to 15.44% from Wednesday's 16.62%, according to the Directorate General of Health Services.
Also, 3,883 fresh cases were reported in the past 24 hours, after testing 20,822 samples, taking the total caseload to 844,970.
However, the fatality rate remained static at 1.59 % during the same period and the recovery rate dropped to 92.12% from Thursday's 92.32%.
Chattogram division recorded the highest 15 deaths, while Rajshahi and Dhaka 12 each, Khulna eight, Barishal four, Sylhet two, and Mymensingh one.
Correlation between death rate and cases observed
To get an accurate measure of death rate, the number of infected people should be used as the denominator and the deceased as the numerator – both of which occurred and ended within a specified time, Dr AM Zakir Hussain, former director of the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research, told UNB.
"But for a disease like Covid-19, which still rages on, the rate should be considered in reference to a specific and relevant time. A recent assessment showed that the highest number of deaths occurred 14 days after the highest number of Covid-19 cases – a situation that still prevails in Bangladesh and India. So, the current method for estimating death rate is not accurate," he said.
What's test positivity?
The Covid-19 positivity rate indicates, among other things, the number of people showing clinical features of the disease or the percentage of individuals suffering from the disease. Such estimation has two errors, Dr Zakir said.
"One, an RT-PCR test, based on the present method of sample collection, misses about one-third of the actual cases. Two, when more than 20 cycles of diagnostic procedures are repeated even a single virus in a sample would show a positive result, which, however, will not indicate that the person who gave the sample will transmit the infection to others or that they will come down with the disease. An RT-PCR test shows positive results even when the virus is dead," he added.
Mass vaccination expected to resume by July
The government halted administering the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine on April 26 considering the dwindling stock of its jabs.
Also, registration for the Covid-19 vaccination remained suspended amid uncertainty over the availability of promised vaccine doses from India's Serum Institute.
However, the mass vaccination of Covid-19 is expected to resume in July next as the government is making all-out efforts to collect vaccines, said Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus Thursday. "The government has allotted a fund of Tk14,000 crore for the procurement of vaccines as it’s an all-out effort to ensure Covid jabs for all."
The government has so far approved the emergency use of Oxford-AstraZeneca, Sinopharm (China), Sputnik-V (Russia), Pfizer-BioNTech (USA/Germany) and Crona Vac (China) vaccines.
'Covid to fizzle out in another year'
"Covid-19 will disappear as a pandemic or epidemic. It may either disappear totally like SARS-CoV-1 or become a seasonal disease like another four Coronavirus strains which affects 30% of the global population every year in the form of common cold and fever," said Dr Zakir.
"This will happen because, in another year, too many people will be exposed to the infection from the viral strain SARS-CoV-2 and will develop immunity to the virus. The other four Coronavirus strains which infect people will also impart partial immunity to SARS-CoV-2. Also, some people have an innate resistance to a disease for different reasons."