With winter sweeping over the country, Covid-19 cases have risen by 32.5 percent this month compared to the number recorded last month.
During the first 29 days of October, 41,281 confirmed Covid-19 cases were reported, while the Directorate General of Health Services reported 54,723 confirmed cases in the same days of November.
Experts said the rise is related to the drop in temperature as the country enters the winter months, and warned that the trend may continue as December is the coolest month in Bangladesh.
With the increase in the number of patients, hospitals in Dhaka are struggling to meet the rise in demand for intensive care unit (ICU) beds for coronavirus patients with comorbidities, sources said.
"The virus loves the cool weather. Already we are observing a rising trend in new cases this month. It will probably rise further during December because December is the coolest month in our country," Dr Mahbuba Jamil, head of the virology lab at Institute of Public Health (IPH), told The Daily Star.
The number of deaths from the highly transmissible virus has also risen, by 8.03 percent, in November.
There were 635 deaths in the first 29 days of October, and 686 deaths in November in the same number of days.
A week on week comparison, however, indicates that the rise in deaths have been sharper in late November.
In the week that just passed, ending Saturday, the number of deaths rose by almost 30 percent compared to the previous week, according to data from the DGHS.
It has been 38 weeks since Bangladesh recorded the first three Covid-19 cases on March 8.
On March 18, the DGHS reported the first casualty in Dhaka.
At the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak, the daily positivity rate was comparatively lower but it peaked to 25 percent of those tested in late May. Until the third week of August, the positivity rate was over 20 percent, which came down to 10 percent in October.
The positivity rate started to rise again since the beginning of November.
"Usually, the number of casualties increases three weeks after the infection rate rises. So, the number of casualties will also go up in the days to come," Prof Mushtaq Hussain, consultant of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), told this paper yesterday
Pointing to the second wave of Covid-19 in Europe and America, the epidemiologist said, "Despite experience of the first wave, the death rate is higher in western countries. Actually, Covid-19 is dangerous for people with chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, etc. because such patients develop severe illness early and require treatment in ICU. But there is a shortage of ICU [beds] in our hospitals."
"To tackle the situation, there is no way to control the transmission by implementing health measures," he said. "Viruses spread more in cold weather."
He also suggested taking people infected with Covid-19 to hospitals in time.
29 DEAD, 1,788 INFECTED
Twenty-nine more people died from Covid-19 in the past 24 hours till 8:00am yesterday, according to a DGHS press release, taking the total number of deaths to 6,609. The overall death rate is 1.43 percent.
In the same 24-hour period, meanwhile, some 1,788 people tested positive for the virus, taking the number of confirmed cases to 4,62,407.
Against a total of 13,737 tests in the 24 hours in 115 labs, the positivity rate was 13.02 percent while the overall positivity rate is 16.77 percent.
At least 2,287 Covid-19 patients recovered in those 24 hours.
The total number of recoveries rose to 3,78,172 and the overall recovery rate is 81.78 percent.
Among the 29 deceased, 23 were male and six female.
Two were aged between 41 and 50, eight between 51 and 60, and 19 were above 60 years old, added the release.