- It could be deadlier than first one
Figures shared by the NCOC reveal a sharp rise in coronavirus cases. Covid-19 hospitalisation has doubled in the last two weeks. The death rate shot up to a four-month high on Sunday with 59 virus-related mortalities in a single day. The number of infections has risen in major cities across the country as well as in AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan. That 19 percent of cases were recorded among students indicates an increase in the number of infections reported at the country’s educational institutions.
The positivity ratio has climbed to 7.46 percent. What remains worrisome is that there is a tendency in the positivity ratio to grow sharply. As recent records show the 6 pc positivity rate in May shot up to 23 pc in June.
For all intents and purposes, the second wave of the pandemic is already in the country and if the epidemiologists are to be believed, it is going to be severe and sustained.
What worries one is the attitude of the government towards the pandemic. Initially the PTI government took the issue lightly, treating covid-19 as mild flu. Subsequently, the federal government entered into a display of one-upmanship with the Sindh government. As the virus led to far lesser casualties than in most other countries, the government played politics, indulging in premature celebrations and accolades. This led common people to take the pandemic non-seriously. Even now only a small percentage wears masks in public places and there is no attempt to maintain social distance or frequently wash hands.
Even as the second wave seemed to be imminent, the Prime Minister went ahead with addressing politically motivated gatherings like the Insaf Tiger Force Convention, the Insaf Lawyers Forum and the Insaf Doctors Forum, where scant attention was paid to Covid SOPs. In the first week of this month, the PM addressed large political gatherings in Swat and Hafizabad.
The second wave could turn out to be deadlier than the first one. To make people follow the SOPs, the government leaders have to shun politics and concentrate on fighting the epidemic. An all out effort, including a media campaign, needs to be undertaken to make the public realise the danger and to follow the SOPs.