Uploaded by Abdullah Afaq

CP 2 22020591

Will Pakistan be able to 'flatten' the curve?
On one hand the government and health officials are planning to prevent the spread of Covid19 through measures which may be debatable of being effective or not. On the other hand, in
this world of big data, researchers and analysts are using models and mathematical tools to
perceive the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic through the lens of numbers and charts. With
the ongoing discourse about the incapacity of Pakistan’s healthcare facilities and the
exponential growth curve, people are in panic. As a result, the phrase “how to flatten the
curve” has swiftly moved to the headlines.
What Pakistan needs to understand is that it has been fortunate enough to be lagging behind
developed nations in terms of the spread of virus, hence it can take assistance from the
exemplary steps taken in Hubei or even Taiwan. Moreover, Pakistan can learn from the
shortcomings of 1918 flu pandemic and develop an effective reaction plan to this growing
disease. The rule of thumb is to reduce the number of infected people as much as possible, in
that way the healthcare system would be capable to better accommodate and treat the
infected. This would, in addition, drive the fatality rate down drastically. So the route which
needs to be opted is not to eliminate the spread of covid-19 rather it is to delay it further so
that it does not overstrain the healthcare structure. This would also give the government some
time to improve the existing capacity of its healthcare system by tackling with the problem of
lack of availability of ventilators and ICU capacity.
Now addressing the elephant in the room: How to delay the spread of virus? The first simple
step to take and what has already been tested: Social distancing. Covid-19 takes about
roughly 14 days to show symptoms, hence physically distancing yourself from social spaces
would eliminate the risk of it to spread at this exponential rate. No decision should be taken
without a thorough cost benefit analysis and the government of Pakistan has been hesitant
enough to enforce a full lockdown, however, they need to realise that the lower class which
they are more concerned about will be the most affected if the virus spreads in the absence of
full lockdown.
On a positive note, there has been favourable developments by the provincial governments as
a partial lockdown has been announced till 5th April. Nevertheless, the critical part starts from
now. Institutions needs to work at micro level, they have to identify the infected population
and quarantine them immediately into field facilities. Moreover, the health staff, the soldiers
in this battle, should be provided with all the protective gear and weaponry. A heavy amount
of testing kits and field quarantine facilities must be readily available for this plan to be
executed smoothly. Furthermore, bridging the information gap about the precautions and
severity of the virus in the population would help behavioural change to reflect from an
individual level.
The earlier you impose aggressive measures, the easy it would be to identify the cases, the
fewer the population infected and the less duration you need to keep the measures intact.
Although the cases reported are not accurate due to lack of testing kits, hence, Pakistan
should speed up its reactions to cope with the true number of cases. It is never too late!