CCHE Seminar Series: Impact of lock down relaxation on the COVID-19 epidemic trajectory in Bangladesh

Mofakhar Hussain
University of Toronto

Friday October 16, 2020, 10am-12pm, Zoom

Abstract: The COVID-19 virus was introduced in Bangladesh in early March and following practices in other nations, in late March, the government introduced lock down measures and other non-pharmaceutical intervention policies. However, such measures could not be sustained even though the epidemic continued to spread. This study attempts to estimate the epidemic trajectory of COVID-19 cases in Bangladesh and estimate the impact of the relaxation of lock down measures. Using publicly available data, the study compares the COVID-19 related tests, cases and deaths in Bangladesh with other countries. Google mobility data is used to evaluate impact of lock down measures. The study then uses four different methods to estimate the epidemic trajectory of cases using actuals cases of pre and post lock-down relaxation dates. Cross-country comparison indicate that lock down did result in significant decrease in mobility and that experience in Bangladesh in terms of cases per million and case-fatality may be different due to differences in health system capacity, age distribution and other factors. Trajectory projection estimate that the COVID-19 epidemic in Bangladesh may last to end of year and total cases may range between 200,000 to 600,000 and that lock-down relaxation may have extended the epidemic by three months and resulted in total cases to increase by between 60 to 100%. The COVID-19 epidemic experience in Bangladesh may be different due to health system capacity, demographic and other factors. While the early lock-down policies may have intended effect, inability to maintain such policies may have resulted in extending the epidemic with increased number of infected people.

Note: While this study was approaching completion, the team engaged with the COVID-19 International Modelling Consortium (CoMo Consortium)  hosted by the University of Oxford and Cornell University with the objective of enhancing Bangladesh specific epidemic and economic modeling. We will present our work so far with the CoMo Consortium.

Mofakhar Hussain obtained a PhD in health economics from the Graduate Center, City University of New York in 1997. After working in the credit card and health insurance industry in the US, he joined as a Senior Economist at the Ministry of Health, Government of Ontario, Canada in 2005. Since 2015, Mofakhar has also been Adjunct Lecturer at the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto where his research interests are pharmaceutical policy and health economics in developing countries.