Covid 19 spread in Pakistan seems to be getting worse as the rest of the world is getting out of from under it. When the pandemic first appeared on the map in 2020 every country in the world felt the effects of this virus. Gradually, as the year ended everything seemed to get back to a new kind of normal. The one country that we felt wasn’t feeling it as hard as the rest of the world was Pakistan. We were surprised and grateful at the same time. However, we did not understand why that was the case.
Everything seemed to point in the opposite direction. No one was being careful. People were out and about without masks. There was no social distancing. The lockdowns were not being taken seriously enough and when someone did get sick, they would not quarantine as they were supposed to. Towards the end of 2020, the situation started to change. A public that had already been so comfortable and was not taking this pandemic seriously enough started to get even more comfortable and essentially started to ignore warnings. We saw the numbers of the sick and the infected go up and the death toll increase.
Here are some of the most recent numbers from the Pakistan Government.
In the last month: June 2nd, 2021 – July 1st, 2021
Confirmed cases: 958, 408
Active Cases: 31, 767
Deaths: 22, 321
Confirmed Cases: 20,343
Active cases: 453
Confirmed Cases: 27,178
Active cases: 699
Confirmed Cases: 6,138
Active cases: 292
Confirmed Cases: 82,706
Active cases: 972
Confirmed Cases: 138,068
Active cases: 1499
Confirmed Cases: 346,301
Active cases: 8378
Confirmed Cases: 337,674
Active cases: 19474
It’s important to note that a large number of people don’t report their illness or don’t even know that they have Covid-19 because they don’t get tested. So, these numbers might not be completely accurate. There are many reasons why people don’t take this pandemic seriously. There have been rumors going around in Pakistan that have made it difficult for people to trust the government and healthcare services. These rumors are not true, but the public will believe anything as long they don’t have to go through treatment or have to take medication of any kind.
The first of many rumors was that there is no such thing as a pandemic and it’s all fake. People in Pakistan believed that it is only a severe type of flu, and it is treatable just like the flu.
Another rumor was that going to the hospital is even more dangerous than the virus itself. Last year, “One doctor from Karachi, who asked to remain anonymous, told the BBC she was recently contacted by a friend asking for medical advice, saying: “‘My son is having flu and fever, but I do not want to take him to the hospital because doctors are just declaring every fever as Covid, and they’re taking 500 rupees.”
People showed proof of this fact and backed out of going to the hospital on those grounds. There may have been some truth to that, not in the way it was imagined, however. In a lot of cases when a person is sick enough to be admitted there is a chance, they will get sicker before they will get better. The public believed that as proof of hospitals and doctors making people sicker.
Once the vaccine was available, one would believe most of these problems would be in the past. Things are never as simple as they seem, rumors that the vaccine was poison and was making people sick started to spread and instead of rushing to get the vaccine, Pakistanis took their time deciding whether this was something they wanted to do or not.
The authorities had to work really hard to convince the general public to get the vaccine and that this was the solution rather than the problem.
We are still not at that point where the public is convinced and ready to get the vaccine without any questions. As a nation Pakistanis are still not convinced that coronavirus is a really big problem and that vaccines are really the only solution.
Gradually as the situation is becoming more and more clear and the need for vaccines and treatment for this virus is more apparent people are coming around.
As it is with everything in Pakistan, the situation seems to go from one extreme to another. 10,000 doses of the one-dose vaccine called CanSino is being held at Karachi airport due to Red-Tape while people are dying needlessly due to vaccine shortage in the country. On June 28th, 2021,The main gate of a vaccination center in Islamabad was knocked down and people tried to enter forcefully to get vaccinated because some of them had to travel abroad soon.
Eid-ul-Adha is coming soon during these days’ lockdown and timings becoming a bit more lenient. While the government is responsible for our safety the public is also responsible for how they behave when they are given the ability to choose. Every time there has been a choice between staying at home or coming out in crowds during the pandemic Pakistan has not made the smart choice. Let’s hope this time we have learned from our mistakes.