Originally published in medRXiv on 31 May 2020
Since its first report on March 08, COVID-19 positive cases and number of deaths are increasing in Bangladesh. In the first month of COVID-19 infection, incidence of daily positive cases did follow the susceptible, infected and recovered (SIR) based predictions we reported in April, but started to deviate in the following months. COVID-19 transmission and disease progression depends on multifaceted determinants e.g. viral genetics, host immunity, social distancing, co-morbidity, socio-demographic and environmental parameters. Therefore deviation in confirmed cases from predicted model may appear and warrant thorough investigation. Methods: In this short report, we compared real data with SIR model and analyzed the possible factors associated with the deviation which included preventive intervention strategies, socioeconomic capabilities, climatic and meteorological indexes, acquired immunity of Bangladeshi population, demographic characteristics, health indicators and food habits. Results: The key factor responsible for the observed deviation was found to be the number of tests performed. Having population with low median age, young age groups are being mostly infected. Low prevalence of non-communicable diseases among them and strong immunity compared to the elderly might have kept most of them asymptomatic with silent recovery. Warm temperature, humidity and UV index of Bangladesh during this summer period might have contributed to the slow progression of infection. Longer daylight mediated immunity, fresh air circulations and ventilation, less population density in rural areas and certain food habits perhaps helped the large number of populations to restrict the infection up to a level. Conclusion: Despite all these helpful determinants in Bangladesh, person to person contact is still the leading risk factor for COVID-19 transmission. Infection may increase rapidly if safe distance and preventive measures are not strictly followed while resuming the normal social and work life. Expanding test capacity, strong collaborative action plans, strategies and implementation are needed immediately to prevent catastrophe.