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Don’t be misled by lower figures of Covid-19 cases

Editorials 2021-04-24, 11:03pm


Bangladesh on Saturday reported 2,686 new Covid-19 cases as against 2,949 cases reported on Friday, a drop by 263 cases just in a day. Ordinarily, this would look like an improvement in the coronavirus situation in the country. But when one looks at the other figures of the numbers of samples tested on the two days one gets the actual reason behind this difference is due to reduction in the number of tests by more than 2000 samples. Prof Nasima told the daily briefing on Saturday that 11,193 samples were tested in 77 labs across the country in the last 24 hours as against Friday’s 13,488 samples – a difference of 2,395 samples. The Health authorities in the last two weeks have thus brought down the daily tests from 15,000 samples to 11,000 samples when experts are suggesting and expansion of tests to gather sufficient information about the routes of spread of the virus.
The reduction in the number of infected cases of late has confused even ranking international monitors like the Johns Hopkins University of USA which has suggested that the infection rate in Bangladesh has started coming down and would level off soon. Local experts contested this analysis pointing out the reduction in the number of samples that were tested.
With Saturday’s figures, the number of Covid-19 deaths in Bangladesh totalled 2,305 while the number of infected persons rose to 181,129.
Experts say that ascertaining correct situation has been further complicated by the margin of error in test results plus deliberate manipulation of test results as has of late surfaced. Action by law enforcing agencies against the culprits involved in the production of misleading reports would hopefully lead to their prosecution, but the confusion that has been created in the process would take time to heal only through higher rates testing suspected cases.
Mostafa Kamal Majumder