Amid the upbeat mood following the opening of the Padma Bridge, grim news-reports also keep pouring in. Apart from the post-flood sufferings being gone through by people in large areas of the country, the sudden rise in the corona and dengue cases carries elements of deep worries. This is, indeed, a gloomy unfolding of things. And is least expected, too. These transformations of reality might happen anywhere any time. Mature and optimistic nations face these unsavoury situations with patience and resilience. Bangladesh, undoubtedly, is one of them. With corona cases dropping fast, seemingly though, across the country in the last few months, the government has lifted the pandemic-related lockdown for now. It was in force for nearly two years from early 2020 to late 2021. In the lockdown-free country, life began to return to normal in phases. Amid this ambience of freedom, a lot of people began thinking that the nation was able to subdue the corona scourge once and for all.
They remained oblivious to the fact that a considerably large section of the country's population in the rural areas did not receive their two primary corona vaccines, not to speak of the booster doses. But it was encouraging to note that the corona vaccination programme was capable of triggering a great stir among the poorer urban communities. The uncontrollable rush of vaccine seekers at different centres stood proof to this enthusiasm. But nobody knows clearly due to the failure of which health service authorities many underprivileged people could not receive their two primary vaccine doses. Many could manage to receive their first dose without any registration online. But they failed in their attempt to receive their second one. They approached the local health service officials. But any positive answer remained elusive. These people from the lower strata are still found stuck in helplessness over the quandary if it will be ever possible for them to receive their second-dose vaccine. The corona, formally Covid-19, pandemic experts haven't subscribed to the lately pervasive triumphal feeling found among the health service authorities.
Although Bangladesh has fared better than many developing countries in South Asia, and greater Asia, in running the vaccination proramme it falls short of the definition of the successfully conducting the Covid-19 vaccination. Its population density and the unpredictable local migration trends stand as a great hurdle to the maximum coverage of people with inoculations. Meanwhile, the daily corona-related positivity rates keep rising. Cases of scattered deaths are reported from many parts of the country. The first death from Covid-19 in the 'third wave' was recorded in the country on May 30 with the second one in June-end. Fresh positivity rate continues to inch up. The country last recorded the rate hitting above 15 per cent on February 25. However, health service men feel upbeat as the mortality rate remains unchanged at 1.49 per cent. Many, however, doubt if the above rate remains stuck there for long. The recovery rate has declined.
Among the unofficial reports of the death cases in the latest spike in outbreak, one was said to have been vaccinated with a single dose, while the three others had two doses each. This fact might emerge as riddling to many. According to reliable data, the country reported its first zero Covid-death in a single day on November 20 last year along with 178 positivity cases. According to health authorities, the number of total fatalities from Covid-19 now stands at 29, 138.
Meanwhile, a team of Bangladeshi researchers has detected a sub-variant named BA.4/5 through a partial genome sequencing of samples collected from two infected people in Jashore. The two male patients are aged 44 and 79. One of them received the Covid-19 booster dose, while another was vaccinated with two doses. According to the researchers, the new sub-variant has a mutation similar to 'Omicron in the spike protein'. Many people feel tempted to brush aside the euphemism used in defining the virus. They forthrightly call in the dreaded Omicron, which has been detected in India and some developed countries. It is said to have originated from South Africa.
Aware of the Covid-19's intermittent resurgence in many countries, especially the developed European ones and many US states, they remained careful in making their comment on the corona pandemic. A few of them had the foreboding that a mutant form of corona virus was biding time to unleash its fury. People in many of these countries received third, and even, fourth booster doses.
In a grim development, large segments of people in Dhaka and other cities have stopped wearing masks, use of hand sanitisers, and they no longer follow health guidelines. Of late, the corona scenario has slowly started reverting to its earlier position. The trend in the rise of corona-positive persons in Bangladesh has been termed distressing. Evidently, it portends worse times ahead. What is most worrying, the number of corona-positive persons clearly shows an upward trend, after a remarkable phase of decline. Most of the general people seem to be little bothered about the media reports on the abrupt rise in Covid-19 cases. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), the rate of increase in infection has been found the highest in Bangladesh in the recent days. In just one week, up to late June, the rate of increase in corona-positive cases stood at 350 per cent.
Moreover, the desperate crowds jostling at relief distribution centres in the northern flood-hit districts carry the grim potential for spreading the virus, pandemic experts say. At the same time, the number of dengue patients being admitted to hospitals continues to rise. This is also assuming the proportions of one of the public health-related worries. Despite Bangladesh being a country passing through disastrous times often, outbreak of pandemics, or endemic scourges, cannot deprive it of its joy of achievements. Since its bloodied birth, it has never conceded defeat. It greatly values patience.