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April 3, 2020

Statistics about corona-fighting tools in Pakistan and around the world


April 3, 2020

LAHORE: At a juncture when the fearsome coronavirus outbreak has paralyzed life in 200 countries across the globe, even rendering helpless some of the richest nations with massive economic resources and medical infrastructures, the whole planet is talking about inadequate testing numbers, shortage of ventilators, dearth of intensive care facilities and a belated response to the catastrophe that has claimed over 42,300 human lives till date.

Research conducted by the “Jang Group and Geo Television Network” shows that a cumulative total of more than 4.9 million tests had been carried out worldwide by March 29. But that figure excludes China because the group could only obtain reliable data for one Chinese province.

Pakistan and the whole world may be setting up new laboratories, buying ventilators and increasing their stocks of testing kits rapidly to scale up their respective capabilities to fight coronavirus, but no respite seems to be in sight, at least for the time being when nearly 860,000 people stand affected by the lethal disease!

Starting with Pakistan, let us ponder over some vital statistics related to paraphernalia, capacity and protective gear in this context:

According to the latest “Gulf News” report, Pakistan has received 10 ventilators from China last week along with thousands of masks and testing kits.

The newspaper quoted the Chairman of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Lt-Gen Mohammed Afzal, as saying on March 30: “China is sending another shipment which includes 16 ventilators and 5,000 protection equipment. Pakistan has ordered nearly around 3,000 ventilators from around the world and expects to receive at least 1,200 within the next 10 days. Furthermore, Pakistan would receive around 150 more ventilators next week, which have been donated by different countries. There are currently 2,200 ventilators available in public hospitals for the critically ill patients.”

The “Gulf News” maintained: “Pakistan’s testing capacity has been enhanced from 30,000 to 280,000 and would be further enhanced to 900,000 by mid-April, the officials said on Tuesday. The country has performed nearly 15,000 coronavirus tests since the outbreak, according to Special Assistant to PM on National Health Services Dr Zafar Mirza. Pakistani officials are hopeful that nearly 100,000 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) — the key medical gear — would arrive by April 6. Meanwhile, another order of 100,000 PPE sets is expected to arrive by mid-April. Pakistan has also procured nearly 100 walk-through thermal gates to be placed at airport gates.”

The UAE-based media house has added: “To improve the testing capacity, NDMA is working in close collaboration with NIH to increase the existing number of coronavirus testing labs from 14 to 50 in next 20 days, according to the NDMA chief. At least 16,700 PPE suits are being delivered to hospitals across the country. The government officials have assured that all of the 30,000 medical health practitioners working in intensive care unit (ICUs) would be equipped with a complete medical kit by early April. Meanwhile, the number of beds in the intensive care units (ICUs) has been increased to 19,670. The capacity of quarantine facilities has also been enhanced to 162,000 now.”

Situation in Germany: The “Business Insider”, an American financial and business news website founded in 2009, has viewed: “The most important factor contributing to the low death rate is that Germany appears to be that it is testing far more people than any other European country. Germany's death rate from the coronavirus is substantially lower than that seen in Italy, Spain, and the UK. Germany is testing as many as 120,000 people a week, identifying many milder cases that don't end in death.”

Germany spends $4,714.26 per person each year on healthcare, according to the World Bank’s 2016 data. The figure is higher than most other nations. Germany has the second-most critical care beds per capita in Europe. The country has 621 beds per 100,000 people. Italy has 275, and Spain 293. The average age of a German infected with coronavirus is 46, whereas in Italy it is 63. Some 80% of all people infected in Germany are younger than 60.

According to a reputed British newspaper “The Independent”, at least 200,000 coronavirus tests have been carried out in Germany during recent weeks. The “Financial Times”, a London-based English-language international daily newspaper, has opined: “German laboratories are carrying out as many as 500,000 coronavirus tests a week.” The “Fortune” magazine has stated that Germany has 25,000 ventilators and another 10,000 are under production. According to the “New York Times”, the number of ICU beds in Germany stands at 28,000. A German ventilator weighs 130 pounds with a wheeled trolley, adding the cost of each ventilator ranges between US$ 25,000 and $50,000.

Situation in India: The “BBC News” has stated: “India, by most estimates, only has 48,000 ventilators. Nobody quite knows how many of these breathing assistance machines are working.”

However, according to an Indian media house, the News18, the country only has 14,000 ventilators, while another 10,000 have been ordered from China.

The media house said the Indian government has placed an order for 2.1 million personal protection equipment with 11 domestic manufacturers who are supplying 6,000 to 7,000 of this equipment daily, and his number may surge to 15,000 by next week. India has in store about 60,000 personal protection equipment. The Indian Red Cross has arranged another 10,000 of these PPEs from China, while orders for three million of these have already been placed with Singapore, Vietnam and Turkey.

Meanwhile, the local manufacturers have been asked to provide 40,000 more ventilators and about 334,000 sets of personal protection equipment.

Statistics related to Italy: According to “Fortune” magazine, Italy has 3,000 ventilators and has floated tenders for another 5,000 of these. In Italy, number of ICU beds ranges between 1,500 and 2,400.

Situation in France: France has 5,065 ICU beds equipped with ventilators. It has 7,364 ICU beds without ventilators.

The “Fortune” magazine says France only has 5,000 ventilators, though other sources have put this number at 30,000.

Situation in United Kingdom: The “Business Insider” reveals: “As of March 28, the United Kingdom had tested 113,777 people.” According to the “Financial Times”, Britain has about 5,000 ventilators, according to British Health Secretary Matt Hancock. The “Fortune” magazine has also given the same figure. The “Al-Jazeera” Television has put this number at 8,175 though.

Statistics related to the United States: The US had tested 626,667 people by March 28.

According to a March 27, 2020 report of the National Public Radio (NPR), a privately and publicly funded American non-profit membership media organization based in Washington, DC, the American Vice President Pence said more than 685,000 tests for the virus had been performed as of earlier in the day.

While hospitals in United States are facing shortages, President Donald Trump says America will be sending surplus equipment to European nations to help them combat the new coronavirus.

The “Chicago Tribune” writes: “As US companies ramp up production of ventilators, Trump says the US will be able to send excess ventilators to Italy, France, Spain and other hard-hit countries when possible.” The “Atlantic” magazine has revealed United States has 170,000 ventilators.

The Al-Jazeera Television says the United States has 200,000 ventilators, but the American Society of Critical Care Medicine has raised alarms by saying half of these ventilators are old models that may not be ideal for critically ill patients.

Meanwhile, the American Public Health Preparedness journal thinks the country has about 150,000 respiratory therapists and 135,000 ventilators with 10,000 more available with the US Strategic National Stockpile.

Statistics pertaining to Spain: Spain had distributed 650,000 testing kits, but has sent back a batch bought from China after they discovered these gadgets were only identifying 30% of positive cases.

The “Chicago Tribune” states: “At least six of Spain's 17 regions were at their limit of intensive care unit beds, and three more were close to it.”

Situation in South Korea: The “Financial Times” states: “South Korea, the country that got going first with extensive Covid-19 testing, has so far carried out 394,000 (equivalent to 770 per 100,000 people). Iceland has done 4,160 tests per 100,000.”

Research further shows Japan had 32,586 ventilators in 2009, South Korea has about 9,795, Russia has 40,000, Austria has 2500, Czech Republic has 3529, Poland has 10,100, Lithuania has 1000, Mexico has 2050, New Zealand has 520, Portugal has got 1400, Norway has 800, Australia has 1314 and Slovakia has 600.