Even the death rate in Bangladesh is lower compared to other South Asian countries such as India, which has registered 11 deaths per 1 lakh and the Maldives 9
Numbers don't lie.
The story they tell about the low death rate from Covid-19 in Bangladesh compared to other advanced economies in Europe and America is very intriguing.
Just compare: Bangladesh has recorded fewer than 5 deaths per 1 lakh people from the coronavirus, Italy 130.3, the UK 120.2, the USA 113.1, Spain 110.9 and Germany 49.
Even the death rate in Bangladesh is lower compared to other South Asian countries such as India, which has registered 11 deaths per 1 lakh and the Maldives 9.
The numbers appear to be the tip of the iceberg. The much bigger story lies behind them.
Over the past few months, experts have been guessing some reasons behind the low death rate – such as dominance of young population and prevalence of other viruses – that might have contributed to developing strong immunity among people. But nothing is conclusive scientifically.
Neither any Bangladeshi nor any international researcher has studied the reasons.
Therefore, the science that achieved a milestone by developing vaccines at an unprecedented speed could not learn anything from the Covid-19 peculiarity in Bangladesh.
Medical experts think extensive scientific research could have debunked the mystery.
Findings of such a study, if conducted, could help Bangladesh to equip its health care better to fight the virus in coming days and help others to learn from us, experts believe.
They now urge the authorities for conducting a study to find the reasons behind the low death rate in Bangladesh.
"What we are saying about the low death rate is a hypothesis. It is very important to carry out a study to get the real picture," says Professor Nazrul Islam, noted virologist and member of the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19.
Professor Tahmina Shirin, director of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), says the institute is preserving the samples it has been collecting for testing and a study will be conducted later.
The current pandemic situation is also another glaring example of the intriguing story.
The UK and some other European Union countries have again enforced lockdown after several months of the long shutdown last year despite they have recently rolled out massive vaccination to contain the spread of the deadly virus.
The UK ministers are under pressure to escalate the current lockdown in England amid warnings that the current measures may not be tough enough.
The coronavirus pandemic accelerated in Europe. Germany and Belgium hit new grim milestones in terms of recorded fatalities from the disease.
Belgium topped 20,000 deaths on Sunday while Germany's toll reached 40,000 with Chancellor Angela Merkel warning that the worst is yet to come as the country waits for vaccinations to take effect.
What Bangladesh is doing now seems a chilling story.
After a two month-long lackluster shutdown between March and May, Bangladesh gradually reopened its economy from June, and now all sectors are open except only educational institutions. The overall pace of economic recovery has since been good.
It is still a month before the mission vaccination is starting in Bangladesh. People on the streets bother less to wear masks and maintain social distance. Yet, the infection rate is on the decline, allaying experts' fear that the virus could wreak havoc on human lives in winter.
After the outbreak early last year, some international experts had also made a chilling forecast that South Asia would turn into a Covid-19 hotspot.
But today, it is a different story.
All these have made Bangladesh a curious case.
What experts say about research
Tests have confirmed that people got infected by other types of coronavirus before. The antibodies developed in human bodies following infection may be the reason as to why "we are suffering less", says IEDCR Director Professor Tahmina Shirin.
In recent times, the infection and death rates have come down significantly. It is difficult to start a research right away to find out the contributing factors because of the lengthy official procedure to get it approved. But the IEDCR is preserving samples to study them in future, she states.
National Technical Advisory Committee member Professor Nazrul Islam says a research is very necessary to find out why the coronavirus infection in Bangladesh is low.
"My hypothesis is that the novel coronavirus could not do more harm because of the dominance of four other viruses during winter in our country," he says. But research is required to prove that.
"If we do not learn about the virus, infection could go out of control," Prof Nazrul says.
On the other hand, if those reasons are found out, it could help countries struggling with rising infection now.
"I want the IEDCR and the icddr,b to conduct the research jointly. I will write a research protocol after discussions with them and submit it to the director general of the Health Directorate so that the approval process does not take long."