About 5% of Confirmed COVID19 Cases Currently Hospitalized in Pakistan
|Pakistan Hospitalization Data. Source: WHO
About 5,000 Pakistanis are currently in hospitals, including 1,000 in critical condition and 278 on ventilators, according to World Heath Organization representative in Pakistan. Over 32,000 have recovered and 2,000 have died. Data from multiple countries shows that only a few of those who go on the ventilators survive. It takes highly skilled pulmonologists to insert the ventilator, a skill that is not widely available.
Nearly 2,000 of the 100,000 confirmed coronavirus cases have died, bringing Pakistan's fatality rate to about 2%, among the lowest in the world. The number of deaths are now doubling every 18 days, a period three times longer than at the start of the pandemic.
COVID19 Testing and Cases:
Media headlines tend to highlight record single day spikes in confirmed cases. What they don't tell you is the record spike in tests almost every single day in Pakistan. It is very simple: The more you test the more cases you will confirm as long as the virus is in the community. More testing is uncovering more of those already infected but only have mild symptoms and unlikely to get sick or die.
|COVID19 Tests and Cases. Source: Pakistan Ministry of Health
Antibodies testing in Pakistan's largest city Karachi has revealed that 15% of the citizens are asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus, a figure close to WHO's estimate of 16% for the global population.
Antibodies testing of 7,000 adults in Karachi reveals that as many as 15% of them have already been exposed to COVID19 without experiencing symptoms, according to a study by Dr. Wajiha Javed, an epidemiologist and head of public health and research at Getz Pharma in Pakistan. This data raises the possibility that millions of Pakistanis may have already been exposed to coronavirus. It takes at least 40% of the population to be exposed to build herd immunity. This may be the only way to normalcy unless there is a vaccine available sooner.
Human Immune Response:
Human body naturally produces antibodies to fight viruses of various kinds, including the coronavirus. Presence of antibodies in a person confirms that he or she has been exposed to a virus regardless of symptoms. Serology tests can detect body's immune response to even a low-level viral load. Such an immune response also occurs to a vaccine which does not make you sick but helps build immunity. More low level exposure to viruses in large numbers of people is in fact a good thing because it helps build herd immunity. However, the most vulnerable population such as the elderly must be isolated until herd immunity is achieved. It takes at least 40% of the population to be exposed to build herd immunity.
Getz Pharma's Dr. Wajiha Javed told me in the latest update on her ongoing work that serology tests have so far been administered to 7,000 adults aged 18-65 over the last 6 weeks in Karachi. 15% of them have tested positive for COVID19 antibodies. People tested included those working for banks, restaurants, textile mills, factories, media and health care workers.
Antibody testing kits detect the response of the body rather than the virus or antigen itself. These tests do not have the issue of low viral load. Antibody tests can detect exposure to Covid-19 even in asymptomatic cases. Generally, antibody testing kits have a high level of accuracy, especially on sequential testing. The kit Getz Pharma has been using has a sensitivity (the ability to correctly detect positive cases) of 95.3% and specificity (the ability to correctly detect negative cases) of 98.7% for IgG, and the sensitivity is 86.48% and specificity is 95.18% for IgM, according to Dr. Wajiha Javed.
|Pakistan COVID19 Death Rate Among The World's Lowest. Source: Our World in Data
Over 90% of those who tested positive in Karachi did not have any symptoms or had only mild symptoms, Dr. Wajiha Javed recently wrote in Dawn newspaper. But some were infectious and they were spreading the virus to others. Because of their non-existent or mild symptoms, they had not reached out to a PCR testing facility to get tested for Covid-19, and were only incidentally picked out for the antibody test during Getz's study. This data raises the possibility that millions of Pakistanis may have already been exposed to coronavirus.
About 5% of the 100,000 confirmed COVID19 in Pakistan are currently hospitalized. About 2,000 of the 100,000 confirmed coronavirus cases have died, bringing Pakistan's fatality rate to about 2%, among the lowest in the world. The number of deaths are now doubling every 18 days, a much longer period than at the start of the pandemic. As many as 15% of Karachi adults have been exposed to COVID19 with over 90% of them showing no symptoms, according to a Getz Pharma study in Pakistan. This is close to WHO's 16% of the global asymptomatic carrier population. Presence of antibodies in a person confirms that he or she has been exposed to a virus regardless of symptoms. It can even detect body's immune response to a low-level viral load. Getz Pharma's antibodies test data suggests the possibility that millions of Pakistanis may have already been exposed to coronavirus. Such an immune response also occurs to a vaccine which does not make you sick but helps build immunity. More low level exposure to viruses in large numbers of people is in fact a good thing because it helps build herd immunity. This may be the only way to normalcy unless there is a vaccine available sooner.
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