Showing posts from March, 2020

Coronavirus: Pakistan's Exports Crash Amid Global Health Crisis

Pakistan Textile Industry was celebrating a big milestone with 20% jump in exports in February 2020 when coronavirus struck a heavy blow. Some western retailers canceled orders while others put them on hold as the virus spread to Western Europe and the United States in late February and early March. Then came the lockdown in Pakistan that shut down factories and halted transport in Pakistan.

Here's how Guido Schlossman, President and CEO of Synergies Worldwide, a global supply chain management firm with an office in Pakistan, summed up the situation for Sourcing Journal: “Most clients have either cancelled or put orders on hold...That would have huge ramifications and losses, and the fear is that most small factories may shut, whereas the mid and big factories will have huge financial liabilities and losses.” “Ninety-five percent of clients have either cancelled, put on hold or given new delivery dates ranging from 4-6 weeks delay to about 8-10 months,” Schlossman said. “That is h…

World Media Highlight Pakistani-American's Work on Coronavirus

Mainstream western and Indian media have widely covered a recent MIT paper by a Pakistani-American scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on the effects of heat and humidity on coronavirus pandemicDr. Qasim Bukhari, the lead author, is an alumnus of NED University located in Karachi, Pakistan. Dr. Yusuf Jamil, the paper's coauthor, is Indian-American originally from Kolkata, West Bengal. The paper is posted on Social Science and Research Network (SSRN). It has been mentioned in reports by New York Times, Washington Post, Time, Forbes, Times of India, The Hindu, India Today and many other publications. The paper shows that 90% of the coronavirus (COVID19 or 2019-nCoV) cases so far have occurred  in regions with absolute humidity between 4 and 10 grams per cubic meter. One possible reason is that the fatty outer layer of the virus has trouble surviving in high heat and humidity. The virus disintegrates when the fatty outer cover is gone in a way similar to how th…

Pakistani-American Woman Featured in Netflix Documentary "Pandemic"

Dr. Syra Madad, Pakistani-American head of New York City’s Health and Hospitals System-wide Special Pathogens Program, is featured in a 6-part Netflix documentary series "Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak". She had warned of a deadly pandemic in December, 2019, just days before China reported to the World Health Organization that it was treating dozens of patients for a novel virus of unknown origin.  We now know it as coronavirus or Covid-19. The series debuted in January 2020, but recent events have pushed it into Netflix’s “Top 10 in the U.S. Today.”

Dr. Madad says the novel coronavirus is "about 10 times more virulent than seasonal flu". “Whether it is somebody you come into contact with or touching door handles or something that’s a high touch surface,” she says. “We want to make sure we are applying everyday measures.”

Both COVID-19 coronavirus and the flu can be transmitted through water droplets in coughs or sneezes. However, tiny particles of COVID-19 m…

World Happiness Report 2020: Pakistan is the Happiest Nation in South Asia

The World Happiness Report continues to rank Pakistan as the happiest nation in South Asia for several years now. The country ranks 66th among 153 nations surveyed for the World Happiness Report 2020. India ranks 144, Bangladesh 107, Nepal 92, Sri Lanka 130, Maldives 87 and Afghanistan 153. China ranks 94th.  Finland tops the list followed by Denmark second and Switzerland 3rd in the world.  The report warns that the COVID-19 global pandemic poses "great risks for some of the main supports for well-being, most especially health and income".

Pakistan has moved up in happiness ranking to 66th in 2020, up from  67th last year and 75th in 2018.  Meanwhile, India's ranking has fallen to 144 this year, down from 140 last year and 133 in 2018. It appears that Prime Minister Modi's divisive policies are contributing to declining happiness in India.

The rankings are based on data collected in the years 2018 and 2019. Researchers asked people to evaluate their own levels of ha…

Chinese Study: Hot and Humid Weather to Reduce Spread of Coronavirus

An increase of just one degree Celsius and 1% relative humidity increase substantially lower the (Covid-19) virus’s transmission, says a study published on March 10, 2020 by Chinese researchers. In an earlier 2009 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers had found that high absolute humidity can help kill flu virus particles in a given environment.

A team of Chinese researchers unveiled the results of their study last week that looked at how temperature and humidity may affect the transmission of COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus. It showed that coronavirus transmission rates decline with increased temperatures and humidity. This may explain why there appear to be few reports of local COVID-19 transmissions in places like Pakistan. Most of the known coronavirus cases in Pakistan appear to be those of the people who have come into the country from cold, dry places like northern Iran where the pandemic is raging. The rate of l…

Can Pakistan Effectively Respond to Coronavirus Pandemic?

Pakistani public health system's ability to deal with Covid19 pandemic is increasingly being questioned with the number of confirmed coronavirus cases spiking in the country. The current hotspot is in southern Sindh province where the provincial government is taking the lead in fighting its spread by shutting schools, closing restaurants and shopping malls and banning large gatherings such as weddings and conferences. The federal government has closed Pakistan's western border with Iran where the coronavirus pandemic is raging. Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority has started screening all incoming passengers and stopped flights to and from several countries hit by the pandemic. Pakistani health experts are advising people with flu-like symptoms to self-isolate in their homes. The best known treatment for the severely ill is Resochin, the anti-malarial antiviral made by Bayer Pakistan. Hydroxycholroquine (HCQ), made by Getz Pakistan, is also reportedly effective in treating Covid…

Women's Day: Gender Gap in Education Narrowing in Pakistan

Women's education, literacy and labor force participation levels remain low in Pakistan but the gender gap is declining in terms of literacy rates and mean years of schooling, according to Pakistan Labor Force Survey 2017-18.  There is about one year gap between men and women in terms of education attained. On average, a Pakistani male born after 1995 will leave school in 8th grade. A female born at the same time will leave in 7th grade.

At a recent Islamabad event organized as part of the World Bank's "Girls Learn, Women Earn" campaign,   Mr. Illango Patchamuthu, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan, said increasing years of schooling helps women become more productive members of society.

Pakistan Labor Force survey provides information on the country's labor force characteristics. It is based on a representative sample of 43,361 urban and rural households. For this purpose, total sample size is evenly distributed into four sub samples, each to be enumerated…

Silicon Valley Congressman Ro Khanna Defeats Pro-Modi Challenger

Congressman Ro Khanna has won 65% of all votes cast to deal a heavy defeat to pro-Modi candidate Ritesh Tandon in primary elections in California's 17th district that covers part of Silicon Valley. Khanna angered many of his Indian-American constituents last summer when he criticized Prime Minster Narendra Modi's Hindutva politics and joined US Congress's Pakistan Caucus. Vast majority of Hindu Americans, including those in Silicon Valley tech community, are solidly supporting Mr. Modi in spite of his Islamophobic legislation like CAA and his government's extended lock-down in Kashmir and brutal anti-Muslim actions in India.

California 17 Election Results: 

Incumbent Congressman Ro Khanna received 46,657 votes or 65,1% of the votes cast in CA17 district in yesterday's primary elections. His main challenger Ritesh Tandon trailed far behind with 17,337 votes or  24.2% of all votes cast, according to New York Times.

Khanna thanked his supporters in a tweet yesterday af…