Bangladesh economy without a vaccine

It’s not looking bad at all

Coronavirus touched almost every aspect of human life and businesses all over the world. We can’t fly, we can’t dine-in, we can’t go to a concert or a game. It will be hard to get a normal life before any vaccine or medicine comes along. The earliest timeline to get a vaccine in the USA, UK and the developed world is by end of the 2020. India will produce 1B doses of vaccines by 2021, of which, they will reserve 500m doses for the people of India. Bangladesh might get a 2–5% of the rest of the 500m doses, which means that we have a good chance of getting a 10–25m doses by 2021. This will cover only 5–10% of the population of Bangladesh. So are we going to survive?

So far, Bangladesh is showing good resilience against COVID-19. Since the first case in mid-march, the cases dropped reasonably in last four and a half months. On August 3rd, 30 death and 1356 new patients have been reported (~24% test positive). The test positive is still significant, however, the patient going for testing went down by ~75%. There might be multiple factors- i) the number of patients is going down, ii) people are not finding the testing convenient and iii) free testing is stopped. Although point ii is not favorable for the case that the cases are going down, but the overall social signal gives a vibe that the real rise in cases is way down in Bangladesh relative to April and May.

The daily life in Bangladesh is going to very close to normal except in a few sectors. Except Dhaka and Chittagong, most of the places in Bangladesh is quite normal. However, the Schools and universities, judicial courts, cinema hall, and stadiums are a few places which are under strict restriction everywhere. The government and private offices are open and are running at full capacity with limited access to physical places of the companies. Most companies are enabling the employees to telework, if possible. The manufacturing companies that includes the garements industries are working at full capacity. The public and private vehicles are in full operation. My assumption is that they are running at 50–75% of their capacity.

Without a vaccine, if we can keep our social distacing and keep cleaning hands, we should be able to reach the baseline in next 1.5–2 months. Once we reach the baseline without much restriction in the work or movement would signal a robust chance to move the economy without vaccine in forseeable future. The biggest test would the resurgence of coronavirus in the fall (Oct-Dec). If we don’t face a big challange in this fall, we should be able to move smoothly through 2021 and 2022 without the arrival of the vaccine.

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