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November 3, 2020

Covid-19 lethality intensifies in second wave

National

November 3, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The lethality of Covid-19 has intensified in the second wave of the coronavirus compared to the first surge in Pakistan, according to one health expert. A mutation of the virus has added to its gravity, which is very dangerous for people struck by it. “The Covid-19 patients we are receiving at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) Islamabad have been found to be more severely ill than before,” Professor of Endocrinology/Medicine Dr Rauf Niazi told The News.

However, other experts are more cautious in making such claims. Professor Dr Saeed Akhtar said that it was premature to say anything about the lethality of the virus in the second wave. “It is not yet clear whether its intensity has increased, decreased or is the same. But there is no doubt that the threat is still very serious.” He said it all depends on human behaviour and the nature and decisions of the leadership to deal with Covid-19. He said that the virus would continue to pose a grave threat due in the absence of any medicine or vaccine to get rid of it.

Dr Saeed Akhtar said that sometimes the second wave of a virus was more severe and worse than the earlier one, as in the case of the Spanish flu in 1918, because its biological behaviour is unknown. The specialist said that the mere wearing of a mask, the most basic preventive measure, could successfully thwart the spread of coronavirus by 80-90 percent. He said that even if one has to go to a large gathering, the use of a mask is a must in addition to the repeated washing of hands.

He said that the government and managements of schools and other educational institutions must ensure that students wear masks at all times. They should also have sanitizers for the teachers, staff and students.

Dr Niazi said that utmost precaution was needed to remain safe from the harsh second wave of the virus, which in his opinion was more lethal than the previous one. He recommended two tablets of HCQ (Hydroxychloquine) 200mg every fortnight for the prevention of Covid-19 for all family members till the time the pandemic continues. The tablets are primarily meant for the prevention of coronavirus-induced lung damage and to avoid respiratory complications that could claim lives. Dr Niazi, along with his team, has conducted a study on Covid-19, which will be made public after its scrutiny by international experts.

The federal government has constantly warned about the second wave and urged people to strictly follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs). According to the latest official data, the positivity rate has now exceeded 4 percent, which is alarming.