Pakistan’s leaders are praising our low Covid19 numbers and mortality rates and referring to it as a miracle. With less than 300,000 cases and around 6000 deaths we have managed to do well till now. One should, however, be cautious of optimism at a time when the pandemic is still with us for the next few months.
However, many experts doubt the figures presented by the government. First, unlike neighboring India which has ramped up testing to 1 million tests a day, testing has been relatively low in Pakistan, and numbers are decreasing. Further, according to data obtained by the BBC “from officials in the country’s two largest cities, Karachi and Lahore, show that there was a significant rise in graveyard burials in June that can’t be explained by coronavirus deaths alone. The rise is likely to be a combination of undetected coronavirus deaths, and patients suffering from other illnesses not getting treatment as hospitals were under such pressure.”
With weak healthcare system, large population, and many poorer families living in crowded living conditions, we need to remain vigilant. The dangers of a new surge in cases still exist. “According to a study in the country’s worst affected city, Karachi, in July by pharmaceutical company Getz Pharma, around 17.5% of the population is estimated to have been exposed to coronavirus. That means significant swathes could still contract it. With large numbers of domestic tourists leaving Pakistan’s major cities, heading for rural areas, following the lifting of restrictions, there are particular concerns the virus could spread to less developed areas, where there is even less healthcare and surveillance.”