Pakistan coronavirus cases disappearing act has baffled everyone in the world except Pakistanis themselves. I felt it necessary to explain to coronavirus watchers, through statistics, comparisons with India ( Pakistan vs India), and anecdotes, why Pakistan has done so well.
Pakistan did better than India in ending the Coronavirus cases spread because of better immunity, higher temperatures, conservative mindset, and youthful population. The accusation of Low testing in Pakistan holds no water.
As of 3 September 2020 Pakistan Vs India Coronavirus today
New Coronavirus Cases
Total Coronavirus Deaths
Total Coronavirus Case
As of 3 September 2020, with just 441 new coronavirus cases reported, Pakistan has nearly eliminated the threat in the country. India on the other hand reported 80,000 new cases. With a population ratio of 1:6, India should have been at 1200 new cases.
World Coronavirus News and Updates Pakistan Vs India
To get your latest updates, go to website worldometers.info
To get Pakistan Corona Virus Updates, go to Covid.gov.pk
To get India specific Corona Virus Updates go to mygov.in/covid-19
So, what happened in the two countries that are supposedly divided by an ill-conceived Radcliff line?
Pakistan Coronavirus Lockdown
Pakistan as of 3 September 2020 has lifted lockdown from all sectors except Universities and schools. These two are scheduled to be opened up in mid-September 2020.
When was the Pakistan Coronavirus peak?
Pakistan’s Coronavirus peak was on 13 June 2020 with 6825 new cases tested positive from a total of 29000 tests. Pakistan maintained the same number of tests per day but the new positive cases kept falling rapidly.
Pakistan Coronavirus vaccine
Although Pakistan has not developed its own coronavirus vaccine, however Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan has approved Phase III human testing of the Chinese developed coronavirus vaccine.
I will go over 13 reasons why Pakistan did well in eliminating Coronavirus from the country, whereas India could not.
The young population was the cause of Coronavirus new cases decline in Pakistan
In Pakistan above 65 is just 4% of the population that is 0.8 million. In India, that percentage over 65 is 6% of the population, which means 7.8 Million. As the most susceptible group in coronavirus deaths are people over 65 and with underlying medical conditions, Pakistan has a lesser susceptible population and hence lesser carriers or vectors.
Having lesser susceptible older people to go round, the virus eventually dies out.
Heat and Humidity killed the coronavirus in Pakistan
In the mid of July, summer temperatures in Pakistan peaked at about 40 C, which combined with the humidity, felt like well over 45 C in most places. Corona Virus is known not to survive in higher temperatures reaching 56 C. Hence, the Pakistan heat sterilized the surfaces where coronavirus could have survived, thereby isolating affected social groups.
India on the other hand had peak temperatures around 30 C and early monsoon rains. The sun’s UV rays could not sterilize sufficiently enough to stop the spread and to add to their woes; early monsoon showers facilitated the spread.
BCG Tuberculosis Vaccine use in Pakistan caused more Asymptomatic cases of Coronavirus
BCG Vaccination is known to reduce the severity of another respiratory illness, Tuberculosis that is similar to coronavirus in symptoms. As most of Pakistan’s population is inoculated with the BCG vaccine, as a routine, this helped decrease the severity of symptoms appearing in patients. That is the reason why the emergency wards and ventilators are idle.
India’s similar low coronavirus deaths per million could also be attributed to the universal use of BCG for children. This has been verified through scientific research on data as well. Data confirms that Coronavirus deaths and intensity in symptoms are a lot less in countries with universal BCG immunization.
Also, one of the worst Coronavirus affected stats in India, New Delhi with 3000 dead, is very close to one of the least BCG immunized state Himachal Pradesh.
Exposure to respiratory viruses in Hajj/ Umra helped against Coronavirus
Pakistanis are bound by religion to proceed to Saudi Arabia for Hajj at least once in their lifetime or perform the lesser Hajj called Umra. Statistics show 2.1 million Pakistanis performed Umra in 2019 and 0.2 million more performed Hajj during the same year. So the combined total of Pakistanis proceeding to Hajj / Umra every year to Saudi Arabia is around 2.3 million at least, not counting the Pakistanis of foreign passport coming from the UAE.
There are no statistics on the total number of Pakistanis having performed Hajj or Umra, but estimates say Pakistan’s middle class of about 50 million people would at least have done so. On the other hand, the threshold for herd immunity calculated around the world is around 50%. So, they both cancel out the virus in-between.
Let me explain my point further. Saudi Arabia during the Hajj and Umra season is considered to be the epicenter of infectious respiratory diseases. Even I caught a lung congesting virus during Hajj and felt like I couldn’t breathe – just like the symptoms of coronavirus.
I have people in the family who have had exposure to deadly respiratory viruses similar to corona like MERS and have passed away because of their underlying medical conditions.
This exposure of Pakistani pilgrims to emerging viruses all around the Muslim world has given our immune system the primary doze, while we are still young, to face off against a more deadly respiratory illness like Corona.
With 25% of Pakistan’s middle-class population already immune to respiratory illnesses because of Hajj / Umra exposure, it was just a matter of time for the herd immunity threshold of 50% to be breached. That’s exactly what happened, the virus couldn’t find vulnerable hosts to cling on to in July 2020 and the rapid decline in infections shows up in the data.
This one time a religious obligation may have saved Pakistan from a health disaster.
Indians performed 3% less Hajj than Pakistanis in 2019. Considering India’s 1.3 billion population, the small segment of Muslims that did proceed to Saudi Arabia to get natural immunity, out of their total sample size of 14 %, could never help reach herd immunity levels of 50% against coronavirus.
The population Density in Pakistan is a lot lower as compared to India.
The significantly lower population density in Pakistan, especially compared to the megacities of India is a significant factor in coronavirus not spreading that aggressively in Pakistan.
India on the other hand is still finding coronavirus clusters in its shantytowns around these megacities.
Lesser intercity movement in Pakistan isolated coronavirus
Transportation costs in Pakistan are very high compared to the region, and that is because of the high fuel cost. This in turn means people generally don’t stray too far from their homes.
This also means that people stick to their surroundings and whatever viruses the population in that area carries, everyone eventually gets immune to it.
India has a metro, train, and transportation system that is a lot more comprehensive, as compared to Pakistan.
Beyond Punjab towards the west is a dusty, dry environment and viruses don’t like dry open environments for transfer. India is not as dry.
Exposure to respiratory infections at an early age in Pakistan
Pakistan’s national immunization program does not cover influenza. Don’t ask me why. No wonder every kid in my class caught the flu during winters, at least once.
Pakistani parents don’t vaccinate their children every year either. If one kid in school gets flue, every household around the kid catches it. This resistance and carefree attitude of Pakistani parents might have helped this time.
India has had influenza b protection in its extended national immunization program since 1978. You do the math. Seasonal Flu shots in India are a lot more prevalent because of better spending on healthcare.
The more exposure Pakistanis have had, the less likely that coronavirus could have caused serious symptoms.
The controversy of Low coronavirus testing in Pakistan
Pakistan did reduced testing, but the authorities say the number of tests per day was reduced when a spike in tests didn’t reveal a corresponding increase in detections. The data on the official Pakistani website says so too.
The WHO figure of sufficient testing g is 10-30 tests per positive case and Pakistan is well below that. Pakistani authorities say the hospitals and morgues are not filling up anymore and that cannot be faked.
India is just about at the borderline of recommended coronavirus testing but the new case keeps increasing too correspondingly.
Pakistan has the 2nd highest refugee population in the world who bring novel illnesses
Pakistan has been home to 2nd largest refugee population in the world comprising of Afghans and Rohingyas Muslims with their total numbers in the millions. The official records show 1.4 million, but the actual numbers are way higher.
Refugees due to their cross migration over a large territory, bring with them their own set of viruses that the host population is bound to get.
Another deadly virus the Polio is only prevalent in Afghanistan and Pakistan – because of the same reason.
India hardly has any refugees and has come across a virus that their local population has never been exposed to ever.
No significant research has been conducted to ascertain this hypothesis as a fact.
Pakistan is already isolated from the world
Pakistan, the pariah of the west, has hardly had any contact with western tourists or visitors for the past two decades. Foreign tourists in Pakistan barely cross the 10,000 marks every year. Pakistani passport has been bottom 10 for quite some time.
This may have proven to be a boon as the like deadly mutation strain of coronavirus could not be brought into the country insufficient dose to cause widespread damage
So, eat dirt suckers!
Old homes are coronavirus favorites.
Old people in Pakistan are not left at care homes. This helps them develop resistance to the germs that only their family members bring home, but not random people like in old homes.
India’s old may reach 173 million in 2026 and their society is adapting to old homes for parents.
Old homes are a petri dish of viral infection, New York old homes were wiped out of their inhabitants in the coronavirus outbreak.
Eid ul Fitr shopping rush helped saturate the population quicker in Pakistan
Pakistan risked opening up shop during the last Eid ul Fitr holidays on 23rd may, 2020, and saw a huge spike in new cases reaching 6500 by 12 June. This spike suddenly died out after a weak later.
This gamble by the government to open up work for the poorest people of Pakistan could have been Pakistan’s final nail on the COVID 19 coffin, as saturation of immune herd happened rapidly.
India’s callous lockdown where their millions of daily wagers had to walk hundreds of miles to their home had no such opportunity.
The Conservative population in Pakistan blocked the coronavirus
Women in Pakistan stay indoors and do not participate in society much. This means that 50% of the population is not exposed to new viruses in markets or workplace. That means lesser vectors to transmit.
India is a more gender-equal society and hence women are vulnerable to coronavirus speak too.
The numbers speak for themselves.
For all those that can’t wrap their heads around why Pakistan is doing so well in Coronavirus response, my explanation is that we live pandemics every day in Pakistan – give us a crisis we haven’t seen.
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