Survey result is expected to be published by end of January, according to CDC’s Bangladesh Country Director Dr Michael Friedman
The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is set to launch by this month a serological survey to detect Covid-19 carriers in six major Bangladesh cities.
“It [the study findings] will give us lot more information how well we are controlling the virus,” CDC‘s Bangladesh Country Director Dr Michael Friedman told BSS in an exclusive interview along with another news agency.
Friedman said the survey would give an indication about the percentage of Bangladesh population who by now developed Covid-19 antibody in their blood serum.
He said the study was expected as well to provide the possible pandemic scenario in the South Asian country while it would take six weeks to carry out the survey in Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna, Rajshahi, Sylhet, and Rangpur.
“We expect to get the result by end of January,” Friedman added.
Also Read - 45% of Dhaka exposed to coronavirus
Bangladesh’s Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) and Dhaka-based International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research (ICDDR’B) earlier carried out a nearly identical study in October which found around 45% of Dhaka residents were carrying the coronavirus antibody.
Friedman, a public health expert by background, said CDC on principle suggests reopening of schools despite the pandemic from “public health point of view” pointing out that World Health Organisation (WHO) as well supports the idea.
He said children are less vulnerable to Covid-19 and much less likely to transmit the virus to adults.
“Are school dangerous for spreading Covid-19, no it’s not true for Covid-19, it’s true for influenza . . . it (Covid-19) is not like influenza ” Friedman said.
The US health official said WHO guideline has also suggested all Covid-19 hit countries to try to keep schools open amid this pandemic.
Friedman, however, admitting school reopening amid the pandemic was a controversial issue and a “huge question” for policymaker but “if you ask me, you have a choice between closing schools and closing restaurants. I would say close the restaurants but keep schools open”.
Friedman said he believed policymakers across the globe were virtually sacrificing the young generation’s future to protect current generation of adults by keeping the schools close.
He said online education might appear effective in advanced countries having all digital facilities “but for the vast majority of students [in less developed countries] . . . don’t have the same capability and resources”.
Friedman said physical presence in class has an extra benefit for health promotion as well while the global learning suggested that the female education particularly help develop good health practices at household levels.
“We need to understand public health implications of not having kids going to school for a year,” he said.
Friedman lauded Bangladesh’s steps so far in striking a balance between business operations and safety measures against the pandemic.
“Government of Bangladesh has so far done pretty good job balancing between the two …. That’s the tough balance,” he said.
Friedman said enforcement of social distancing was a difficult task in Bangladesh but mask mandates for all people simultaneously with hand washing could help the country contain the second wave of the pandemic.
Friedman is a dual-board certified physician in Pediatrics and Internal Medicine with a diverse 27 years of US and global work experience in four continents.
As the CDC Bangladesh country director he primarily focuses on public health systems strengthening, applied public health research, and the implementation of the Global Health Security Agenda.