(Hamza Shafiq abbasi, Rawalpindi)

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

The history of coronaviruses is a reflection of the discovery of the diseases caused by coronaviruses and identification of the viruses. It starts with the first report of a new type of upper-respiratory tract disease among chickens in North Dakota, US, in 1931. The causative agent was identified as a virus in 1933. By 1936, the disease and the virus were recognised as unique from other viral disease. The became known as infectious bronchitis virus (IBV), but later officially renamed as Avian coronavirus.
The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads mainly when an infected person is in close contact[a] with another person.Small droplets and aerosols containing the virus can spread from an infected person's nose and mouth as they breathe, cough, sneeze, sing, or speak. Other people are infected if the virus gets into their mouth, nose or eyes. The virus may also spread via contaminated surfaces, although this is not thought to be the main route of transmission.Preventive measures include physical or social distancing, quarantining, ventilation of indoor spaces, covering coughs and sneezes, hand washing, and keeping unwashed hands away from the face. The use of face masks or coverings has been recommended in public settings to minimise the risk of transmissions. Several vaccines have been developed and several countries have initiated mass vaccination campaigns.If COVID-19 targets blood vessels, that could also help explain why patients with pre-existing damage to those vessels, for example from diabetes and high blood pressure, face higher risk of serious disease. Recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data on hospitalized patients in 14 U.S. states found that about one-third had chronic lung disease—but nearly as many had diabetes, and fully half had pre-existing high blood pressure.The COVID-19 pandemic in Pakistan is part of the ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The virus was confirmed to have reached Pakistan on 26 February 2020, when two cases were recorded (a student in Karachi who had just returned from Iran and another person in the Islamabad Capital Territory) On 18 March 2020, cases had been registered in all four provinces, the two autonomous territories, and Islamabad Capital Territory and by 17 June, each district in Pakistan had recorded at least one confirmed case of COVID-19.Pakistan currently has the 2nd-highest number of confirmed cases in South Asia (after India); the 9th-highest number of confirmed cases in Asia; and the 31st highest number of confirmed cases in the world. On 15 June, daily new confirmed case numbers reached their peak, with 6,825 new cases recorded, but since then, new daily cases and the percentage of people testing positive have trended downwards. In late June, the number of active cases in Pakistan stabilized, and beginning in July, started showing a significant decrease.[4] On 2 July, recoveries exceeded active cases for the first time as 8,929 recoveries were recorded, meaning that 51% of all confirmed cases in the country to date had recovered. While Pakistan has the world's 31st highest case count, it only has the world's 29th highest death count.[needs update]

The province of Sindh has recorded the most cases at about 134,000, and has also recorded the most deaths due to COVID-19, about 2,500 to date. The country was put under a nation-wide lockdown from April 1 and extended twice until 9 May. Upon its end, the lockdown was eased in phases.

The distribution of COVID-19 in Pakistan is heavily concentrated in a few key areas. The city of Karachi (as of 5 September 2020) has recorded about 84,000 confirmed cases, making up about 28% of all cases of COVID-19 in Pakistan. Meanwhile, Lahore, the country's second-largest city, has recorded (as of 5 September 2020) 49,000 cases of COVID-19, making up about 16% of the country's cases. Islamabad Capital Territory and Peshawar District have also both recorded over 10,000 cases. Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, and Peshawar account for about 163,000 cases, which make up nearly 55% of the country's total confirmed cases.
Symptoms of COVID-19
The main symptoms include:

Shortness of breath
Trouble breathing
Chills, sometimes with shaking
Body aches
Sore throat
Congestion/runny nose
Loss of smell or taste

The government in Pakistan is considering the imposition of another countrywide lockdown if the COVID-19 situation continues to get worse. For Pakistan, flattening the curve and containing the virus’ spread by imposing a lockdown may have already become irrelevant. The utility of the lockdown was highest when the crisis was at an early stage and limited to Pakistan’s urban areas. With the virus’ spread now hitting all corners of the country and transmission patterns developing in rural areas, it is unclear if another lockdown is the solution or if it can be implemented at all.

Pakistan’s hospitals are already operating above their capacity and turning away patients. Officially, the tally of COVID-19 cases in Pakistan has surpassed 60,000. So far, more than 1,200 people have died all across Pakistan. During the last 24 hours alone, around 2,400 people affected by the COVID-19 were admitted to public hospitals or facilities created by the government. According to the latest figures, Pakistan only has around 4,000 ventilators, of which 2,200 are possessed by public sector hospitals. During the last two days, more than 150 people were put on the ventilators across the country.

Pakistan faces a serious crisis when it comes to tracking the pandemic’s spread, and monitoring the severity of the situation. The actual story of the crisis is far worse than being reported. The cases emerging in the major urban areas are the key focus for the health officials. Arguably, it’s one of the reasons that cities like Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, and Islamabad have recorded more cases than other places. Smaller cities and adjacent towns across Pakistan, which are not the focus of the public health officials, neither have the capacity nor infrastructure in place to handle COVID-19 cases or record them correctly for the national or international audience

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