A new study has found that people with cancer who develop Covid-19 are much more likely to die from the disease than people who don't have cancer.
Conducted by physician-researchers at the Montefiore Health System and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the USA, and described as the largest study to make such an assessment so far, it was published in the online edition of Cancer Discovery.
Md Kanchan, a security guard of a building at North Tolarbag and also a cancer patient, shared his story of battling Covid-19 with The Business Standard.
Kanchan has been a blood cancer patient for five years. After years of treatment, his health slowly started to improve over the last two or three years.
Previously he needed to take blood and heavy doses of medicines regularly. But for the last two years, he has not needed to do that because his health has improved.
In early April this year, the first case of Covid-19 was confirmed at his building. Later the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) collected samples from almost every one in the building.
Kanchan, who lives on the ground floor of the building, tested positive along with his wife. Also, the second Covid-19 death from North Tolarbag was confirmed from this building.
As Kanchan is a blood cancer patient, IEDCR took no risk. It immediately shifted him to the Kuwait Bangladesh Friendship Government Hospital. However, his wife's condition was not too serious and she underwent treatment at home.
However, the 35-year-old security guard claimed he showed no symptoms of Covid-19 and was clueless about how he got infected. "Ten people from our building tested positive. Among them four had been taken to hospital including me," Kanchan said.
About the treatment and the care at the hospital, he said, "It was fairly good. The service and food at the hospital were also quite acceptable. The doctors inspected us several times each day. They said that people with asthma are not more likely to get coronavirus than anyone else, but Covid-19, like any respiratory virus, may make people's asthma worse. And I don't have that problem."
After 15 days of treatment, Kanchan tested negative twice in eight hours and returned home. By that time his wife had recovered too. As a cautionary measure, IEDCR suggested that they stay at home for the next 14 days.
"I am an early-stage blood cancer patient. And I thought it was the end of everything for me as I tested Covid-19 positive. Luckily I survived," Kanchan said.
All the Covid-19 positive patients of his area have recovered from the deadly virus. The hospitalised patients have also returned home. The strict enforcement of shutdown in the area slowed the spread of the virus.
As two deaths were confirmed in 24 hours from North Tolarbag, the area was identified as the first coronavirus cluster zone of Dhaka on March 21.
Local lawmaker Aslamul Haque broadcast "restriction of movement" in the area from the loudspeakerof a mosque the next day, on behalf of the government.
A few more people tested positive in the area on the following days. On the 14th day of the lockdown, the second wave of Covid-19 hit North Tolarbag. During the first week of April, 12 more people in the area tested Covid-19 positive.
Some critical patients were taken to hospital while the others took treatment at home.