According to a report published by The Washington Post on July 19, “Pakistan has flattened its coronavirus curve” as the past several days have seen fewer than 1,500 cases and 40 deaths on an average.
So far, 5,677 people have succumbed to COVID-19 in Pakistan, which is 2.1% of the total infected population while almost 79% (210,468) patients have recovered.
The initial estimate of the World Health Organization (WHO) was that the infection fatality rate (IFR) for COVID-19 would be 3.4%, which means that for every hundred cases at three or four people would lose their lives. But as per the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the IFR has turned out to be much lower — at a mere 0.65%
Pakistan’s total number of deaths from COVID-19 in June was 2,835. Since the second week of June, an average of 80 to 100 people had been dying on a daily basis and the same trend continued till June 30. The highest single-day death toll was 153 on June 19.
So far in July, the highest number of deaths was recorded on the fourth day while the daily death toll within the first week stood at around 80. The trend came down to 60 to 70 deaths a day in the second week and the latest trend suggests up to 30 or 40 COVID-19 fatalities a day.
Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid says that due to the strict quarantine policy of the provincial government, the virus has not spread as expected. She also says most fatalities are of those who are older than 60 years of age or are suffering from certain other diseases.
The rate of COVID-19 infections and deaths seems to have dropped significantly in Pakistan but it is an open secret that the number of cases and deaths is also being grossly misreported.
“I am aware of a few cases in which patients with COVID-19 symptoms were never taken to hospitals and in case of death were laid to rest at large funeral gatherings,” said Love for Data Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Syed Tajamul Hussain. He added that the country hadn’t had a mortality census in a while and it was highly likely that cases were being under-reported amid limited testing capacity.