Tuesday, June 25, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Don’t sleep on Covid-19 just yet

There is no guarantee that Bangladesh would be able to replicate its success with a new strain of Covid-19

Update : 05 Feb 2024, 12:58 PM

With news that at least 25 more cases of Covid-19 were reported under 24 hours last Saturday, we are once again reminded that the virus is still a clear and present danger to us all, and with the rise of a new sub-variant JN.1 -- classified as an Omicron strain -- the possibility of mask mandates returning cannot be discounted.

As things stand, the daily case test positivity rate is at 7.35% from 340 samples, according to the Directorate General of Health Services. While this is not an amount that warrants panic, it is nonetheless significant enough for both the government and the public to start taking the appropriate measures.

During the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Bangladesh, despite its high population density, was able to side-step the virus through timely policies and actions by the government and the cooperation of the general public -- this is a virus that brought entire developed countries to their knees as it wreaked absolute havoc over their populations with death tolls upwards of a million.

Mask mandates, vigorous inoculation drives, pragmatic institutional shutdowns, and an aware public are what eventually allowed Bangladesh to get away relatively unscathed by the coronavirus. And since we’ve done it once before, we can do it again.

However, last year we witnessed record numbers of dengue cases across the nation as the disease all but broke away from its seasonal nature and completely upended our healthcare and disease control infrastructure. There is no guarantee that Bangladesh would be able to replicate its success with a new strain of Covid-19. Caution and foresight are of the utmost importance.

If the threat of this emergent new strain is found to be significant, our healthcare experts and the government need to mobilize measures without delay. If the usage of masks in public places are to return, the mandate should be given sooner rather than later. We cannot sleep on this virus just yet.
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