• Friday, August 14, 2020

Why Youthful, Conservative Pakistan Is a Coronavirus Bright Spot

Discussion in 'Social & Current Events' started by darksider, Aug 2, 2020.

  1. darksider

    darksider FULL MEMBER

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    Bending the CurvePakistan's coronavirus figures come down

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    Two months ago, Pakistan was drawing unfavorable Covid-19 comparisons with Brazil
    ISLAMABAD—Two months ago, the coronavirus seemed to be spreading out of control in Pakistan, a poor, chaotic country of more than 200 million with a weak health-care system that was seemingly headed for disaster. It was being compared with Brazil, another developing country with a similar population size that has been ravaged by the disease.

    Instead, Pakistan has dramatically reversed course, recording a sharp decline in coronavirus cases and deaths, which are both down more than 80% from their peaks. Major hospitals report beds are freeing up in previously overflowing coronavirus wards, even in the nation’s biggest and hardest-hit city, Karachi. The tally of patients on ventilators has halved over the past month.

    This is all happening as Pakistan’s neighbours to the east and west—India and Iran—are still reporting that infection rates are climbing steadily. Even more surprising, the progress in Pakistan came after Prime Minister Imran Khan resisted advice from the World Health Organization, declaring in May that lockdowns are too costly for the poor and reopening the economy.
    “We charted the tough course between a strict lockdown and completely opening up,” said Dr. Faisal Sultan, an infectious diseases physician brought in by Mr. Khan as his adviser for Covid-19.

    Health officials haven't declared a win. They worry that progress could be undone, particularly with the approach of two Muslim holidays—Eid al-Adha, which falls this weekend, and Muharram—that traditionally involve public gatherings across the country.

    Relatively low testing levels in Pakistan have also raised questions about the scale of the decline, but medical experts say the turnaround trend is clear. Tellingly, the proportion of tests coming back positive has more than halved, official figures show.

    Pakistan locked its economy down in March, early on in its outbreak, which kept the virus from spreading widely while the population stayed home. But after restrictions were lifted in May, many Pakistanis celebrated the end of the fasting month of Ramadan with shopping sprees and visits to family.

    That unleashed a burst of infections.

    The rapid spread jolted people into changing their behaviour, with more mask-wearing, hand-washing and maintaining social distance, Dr. Sultan said. The preventive messages increased from the government and public service campaigns. The prime minister also started wearing a mask in public.

    The government switched to a strategy of targeted lockdowns of local areas where a cluster of cases had arisen, sometimes just on one street. Residential data and experience that health officials gained over the past few years as part of a massive push to vaccinate against polio were leveraged to pinpoint trouble spots.

    Schools, wedding halls and restaurants remained closed. Long-distance travel is still restricted.

    These days, Dr. Faisal Mahmood, a professor at the teaching hospital of Karachi’s Aga Khan University, said he is seeing more people in his clinic who are having problems recovering from Covid-19 than those currently infected.

    “The drop is real, though I was skeptical initially,” Dr. Mahmood said.

    From a peak of nearly 7,000 new cases of infection a day in June, on Friday the country reported 903 new cases. This week, Pakistan recorded its lowest death count in three months, with 27 on Friday.

    So far, fewer than 6,000 people have died, with 278,000 recorded cases of infection. Brazil has about the same size population as Pakistan, but has reported more than 92,000 deaths and 2.7 million cases, according to Johns Hopkins University. At Pakistan’s peak, which came in mid-June, major hospitals in big cities reported being overwhelmed. The highest number of patients to die in a day was 153, on June 20.

    “The decline in Pakistan is promising,” said Anna Vassall, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. “But we are not yet certain as to the cause, nor how long it will last. The spread of Covid is driven by social behavior and it is difficult to measure how that has changed.”

    Modeling had predicted countries like Pakistan would broadly follow coronavirus trends seen in the West, producing some grim forecasts. A simulation from Imperial College London produced a worst-case scenario of 30,000 deaths a day in early August.

    But Pakistan has some unique characteristics that have likely been helpful in beating the virus back, health experts say. In particular, the young population and conservative, male-dominated Muslim society has limited exposure to the virus, they say.

    Just 4% of Pakistan’s population is over 65—compared with 16% in the U.S. and 23% in Italy, according to United Nations data. The average age in Pakistan is 22, more than a decade younger than Brazil, and 25 years younger than Italy. And there are no bars and nightclubs. There are also no institutionalized homes for the elderly, sites of deadly outbreaks elsewhere. Women tend not to go out of the home to work, meaning the workforce is overwhelmingly made up of men who are mostly young.
    Pakistan has just one megacity, Karachi, while India has several. And Karachi isn’t a high-rise city. Denser urban settings given the virus the best opportunity to spread. In Pakistan, the virus remained confined not just to the bigger cities but to pockets within those cities, officials say.

    Dr. Adnan Khan, a doctor who is chief knowledge officer at Research and Development Solutions, a consulting firm, said social circles in any country are limited to family, friends, work colleagues and more. Some economic research suggests that social networks are smaller in poorer countries, he said.


    The virus infected much of the part of the population that was exposed to it in Pakistan and for now, it may have run out of places to go, he said. Still, there are likely other parts of the population that remain vulnerable to the disease, particularly in smaller towns and rural areas—though it is harder for the virus to spread there, Dr. Khan said.

    For supporters of the prime minister, the shrinking coronavirus threat is a political triumph. Critics earlier predicted that his strategy would lead to catastrophe and his ouster. Pakistan’s already powerful army, which has taken a very prominent role in the coronavirus response, has also gotten a boost in public esteem, analysts say.

    Yet even as government officials are eager to take credit, they admit they don’t fully understand how the turnaround happened. Mr. Khan has said he wasn’t expecting the numbers to come down so fast.

    Officials say complacency could still reverse people’s behavior and spread the disease. Schools will likely open in September—same for wedding halls. The government has appealed to the public to exercise restraint at the festival of Eid this weekend. As farmers return from selling their animals for slaughter in the cities, they could carry the virus into rural areas for the first time, experts warn.

    “This is not the time to declare victory,” said Dr. Sultan, the prime minister’s adviser. “This is the time for humble introspection and planning ahead.”
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-yo...kaqfz55cuu5uxp&reflink=article_whatsapp_share
     
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  2. Dalit

    Dalit ELITE MEMBER

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    I taste biterness and envy.
     
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  3. LeGenD

    LeGenD MODERATOR

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    Hot and humid weather conditions can suppress viruses - a natural remedy.
     
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  4. Vikki

    Vikki FULL MEMBER

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    • Speaking on the condition of anonymity,

      This
    • Coronavirus: Is low testing behind Pakistan's falling daily new cases?
      By Mavra Bari (Islamabad) | 17.07.2020
      • Coronavirus latest: WHO urges Pakistan to lock down

        RELATED SUBJECTS
        Asia
        Pakistan
        Coronavirus

        Pakistan's overall testing rate also remains low. Prime Minister Imran Khan's government argues that the drop in the increase of daily new cases is due to its policy of "smart lockdowns," but data shows a correlation between the drop in testing and declining new cases.

        Asad Umar, a federal minister, dismissed talk of a correlation between the two in a tweet on July 15, instead crediting the government's actions for the positive development.

        Decline in testing
        According to Our World in Data, the latest estimate of Pakistan's daily tests per thousand people is 0.1 as of July 16, a rather sharp decline from 0.13 tests in June. Experts believe that current testing has dropped by at least a quarter.





        As per the National Command Operation Center (NCOC), Pakistan has a total testing capacity of 71,780 tests per day, with 133 testing laboratories in total. Currently, it is utilizing only about 40% of the capacity, according to the Ministry of National Health Services Regulation and Coordination.

        The NCOC data shows that the government conducted 24,262 tests on July 15 and reported 40 deaths. In contrast, a month ago, on June 13, the total tests done per day were 29,546 and the reported deaths were double the figure recorded on July 15.

        Read more: Pakistan risking disaster with its contentious coronavirus strategy

        Last month, the government said it would increase the rate of testing to 50,000 tests a day from July, a target which is yet to materialize. On June 19, Pakistan conducted 31,681 COVID-19 tests, the highest officially recorded number so far.

        Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a government official in a semi-urban district in Punjab province noted that he had direct orders from his superior to omit numbers by almost half. This month he reported 34 new cases, instead of 63.

        This is indicative of willful misreporting at the district level and raises concerns regarding the accuracy of the official figures. Misreporting, coupled with a decrease in testing, greatly skews the recorded prevalence of cases in the country, say experts
        .

        Read more: How denial and conspiracy theories fuel coronavirus crisis in Pakistan









        03:10 mins.
        ASIA | 19.06.2020
        How Pakistan-administered Kashmir managed to contain the c...
        Widespread social stigma

        Given the rise in the total number of infections in the country, people are now more aware of COVID-19 symptoms and are not coming to hospitals unless they become severely ill, Hina Shah [name changed], a doctor at PAF Hospital in Islamabad, told DW.

        "Whole affected families are not coming to hospitals, there is some stigma attached but also many people choose to quarantine themselves," she added, underlining that the decline in numbers is also due to people opting not to go to hospitals and get tested
    • https://m.dw.com/en/pakistan-coronavirus-testing/a-54221822
     
  5. Progressive1

    Progressive1 FULL MEMBER

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  6. Dalit

    Dalit ELITE MEMBER

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    LOL a hateful Indian had to post BS.

    Explain the low fatality rate. If infection rate is supposed to be high in Pakistan so should the numbers of deceased. The government cannot hide the of number deceased.

    Explain to us why the fatality rate is so low in Pakistan. Is Pakistan hiding the death numbers?
     
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  7. Bilal.

    Bilal. SENIOR MEMBER

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    The second post after yours is a testament of the envy and bitterness you spoke of ;)
     
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  8. Dalit

    Dalit ELITE MEMBER

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    For corona this doesn't seem to be true. At least that is what researchers say.
     
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  9. masterchief_mirza

    masterchief_mirza SENIOR MEMBER

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    Did you read the original posted article?

    "Tellingly, the proportion of tests coming back positive has more than halved, official figures show."

    So, even adjusting for a reduced testing rate, the positive outcomes are still less than they were previously.

    It isn't entirely clear why the positivity rate is reduced, but it is reduced, whether India likes it or not.
     
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  10. masterchief_mirza

    masterchief_mirza SENIOR MEMBER

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    Exactly, you can't hide fatalities or overflowing intensive care units with severe cases.
     
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  11. Dalit

    Dalit ELITE MEMBER

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    India obviously doesn't like it.

    India reports over 50K COVID cases for 4th straight day, total tally crosses 17.5 lakh mark

    https://economictimes.indiatimes.co...crosses-17-5-lakh-mark/videoshow/77314217.cms
     
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  12. Vikki

    Vikki FULL MEMBER

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    Read the report i posted...even positive cases are being underreported by half...if 100 cases are postive,they are reporting just 50.
     
  13. Ivan

    Ivan FULL MEMBER

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    "Why Youthful, Conservative Pakistan"

    I believe these two factors coupled with lock downs and God`s mercy has helped us through this pandemic. I just pray for the safety of all, everywhere.
     
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  14. Bilal.

    Bilal. SENIOR MEMBER

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    Yes. It’s true, people are also burying their deads in their backyards to under report corona. It’s all Pak ki napak sajish....
     
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  15. Vikki

    Vikki FULL MEMBER

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    I agree..death rate might have declined...but not positive cases..
    Death rate in india will also come down soon .