Rising COVID Cases

The rise in COVID cases around the country continues as the health ministry on Saturday reported ten deaths, the highest single-day fatalities since March 3. In the last 24 hours, the national COVID positivity ratio was recorded at 3.28 percent according to the data shared by the National Institute of Health (NIH). The situation is more concerning in Sindh at this point in time as nine out of the ten deaths occurred there, and the positivity rate in Karachi is above 30 percent.

Reports reveal that the health authorities have conducted 22,451 coronavirus tests, of which 737 turned out to be positive in the last 24 hours, and over 180 patients are currently in critical care across the country. Health officials are of the view that the risk of a sixth wave is very real, but we are not there yet. Officials are closely monitoring the situation currently and it is expected that new guidelines will be announced if the infection rate touches a critical level in the coming weeks.

The new sub-variant of omicron is said to be highly infectious, though not as deadly as the previous strains. For now, the NIH is advising the public to follow health guidelines and get vaccinated. As far as health precautions and guidelines are concerned, enforcing those has been a challenge throughout the pandemic and that is unlikely to change right now.

Experts are of the view that when it comes to these new strains, the increasing immune evasion appears to be one of the greatest threats. It is very likely that there will be future spikes in cases, however the severity of those waves will depend on the vaccination, immune status of the host, and the virulence of the variant. Therefore, the best strategy to prevent future waves is to maximise vaccinations, including boosters, instead of stressing on restrictions and lockdowns. Lockdowns will also be hard to implement given the prevailing economic situation in the country. The authorities have done a commendable job of vaccinating 57 percent of the country, and must continue their efforts to increase coverage in order to ensure that a health emergency is kept at bay.

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