November 22, 2020

Covid-19 infections are on the rise again. Are we up to the challenge?

As the wedding season kicked off and the banquet halls opened, people started coming together, throwing caution to the wind. Bazaars became busier than before with buyers for the wedding season, without masks on. Public transports posed another hazard. Very few were seen wearing a mask. This was asking for trouble. Corona is back.

The second wave of the pandemic started a few weeks ago. The number of active cases has gone up from 5,000 three weeks ago to 30,000 this week. Pakistan is now projected to cross the 400,000 confirmed cases mark by the end of next month.

“The virus has mutated. It has more than 30,000 molecules that determine its structure… this mutated virus is different from the Chinese strain and appears to be more harmful,” says Dr Atta-ur-Rahman, chairman of the Task Force on Science and Technology.

The number of critical patients brought to Mayo Hospital, Lahore, has been increasing by the day. “All 244 Covid-19 patients, admitted to 32 hospitals in Lahore by November 17, are in critical condition, requiring oxygen,” says Dr Asad Alam Khan, the Mayo Hospital CEO.

Patients with mild symptoms and asymptomatic patients are being advised to isolate themselves at home as this reduces the burden on hospitals and allows hospitals to focus on the more serious patients.

The government has warned people time and again to follow the SOPs. Many public gatherings and rallies by both government and opposition parties and religious congregations have gone ahead nonetheless. A section of the population is clearly in the denial mode.

Good hygiene is the key to warding off the virus, says Professor Javed Akram, the University of Health Sciences, Lahore, vice chancellor. He warns that people must not drop their guard. “Sanitisation has to be a daily routine.”

Editorial: Covid-19 infections are on the rise again. Are we up to the challenge?