Health

Pakistan records another 113 coronavirus cases, one death

Written by The Frontier Post

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has registered 113 more coronavirus infections and one death during the last 24 hours (Monday), showed the figures released by the National Institute of Health Pakistan on Sunday morning.

As per the NIH data, the death toll in Pakistan has now inched up to 30,384, whereas the number of total infections now stood at 1,532,266 after adding the fresh 113 cases.

During the last 24 hours (Monday), 9,406 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio shot up to 1.20 percent. The number of patients in critical care was recorded at 58.

During the last 24 hours (Monday), another 85 people recovered from the Covid-19 in Pakistan and the number of total recoveries now stood at 1,498,486. As of Tuesday, the total count of active cases in the country was recorded at 3,396.

As many as 578,339 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Sindh, 507,719 in Punjab, 219,798 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 135,783 in Islamabad, 35,512 in Balochistan, 43,362 in Azad Kashmir and 11,753 in Gilgit-Baltistan.

As many as 13,566 individuals have lost their lives to the pandemic in Punjab so far, 8,108 in Sindh, 6,324 in KP, 1,025 in Islamabad, 792 in Azad Kashmir, 378 in Balochistan and 191 in Gilgit Baltistan.

New subvariant detected in South Australia

South Australia has recorded 11 Covid-related deaths with the prime minister warning case numbers could rise after a new subvariant was detected in the state.

Premier Peter Malinauskas confirmed the BA.5 subvariant has been identified in the state after being found in New South Wales and Victoria. “Case numbers may go up between the next six to eight weeks pending how the new BA.5 variant rolls through South Australia,” he said.

“The information presented to us this morning indicated that in New South Wales, the BA.5 variant numbers have gone up dramatically.

“It isn’t any more dangerous than previous iterations, but it may result in case numbers going up.

“That’s a function of increased transmissibility but also do to with issues around immune escape which are still to be determined and the science is currently evolving on.”

He said SA Health was monitoring the situation and would release further modelling.

A woman in her 40s is among the 11 new deaths, and 2,270 new cases have been reported today. The deaths occurred between February 26 and Sunday but were only announced by SA Health today.

The state’s Emergency Management Council met this morning to discuss easing quarantine requirements for COVID-positive people, but no further changes were made to restrictions.

Vaccine mandate requirements for allied health workers were also considered but remain unchanged.

The latest restriction to ease was the requirement to wear masks at Adelaide Airport.

The rule was eliminated on Saturday after the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee said masks were no longer mandatory in airport terminals but were strongly recommended.

Masks are still required on board aircraft.

Despite another Covid surge, US deaths stay near lows

For two years, the coronavirus killed Americans on a brutal, predictable schedule: A few weeks after infections climbed so did deaths, cutting an unforgiving path across the country. But that pattern appears to have changed. Nearly three months since an ultra-contagious set of new Omicron variants launched a springtime resurgence of cases, people are dying from Covid at a rate close to the lowest of the pandemic.

The spread of the virus and the number of deaths in its wake, two measures that were once yoked together, have diverged more than ever before, epidemiologists said. Deaths have ticked up slowly in the northeastern United States, where the latest wave began, and are likely to do the same nationally as the surge pushes across the South and West. But the country remains better fortified against Covid deaths than earlier in the pandemic, scientists said.

Because so many Americans have now been vaccinated or infected or both, they said, the number of people whose immune systems are entirely unprepared for the virus has significantly dwindled.

“In previous waves, there were still substantial pockets of people who had not been vaccinated or exposed to the virus, and so were at the same risk of dying as people at the beginning of the pandemic,” said Dr. David Dowdy, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Those pockets don’t exist anymore.”

That turn in the pandemic has nevertheless left many Americans behind.

Older people make up a larger share of Covid deaths than they did last year. The virus continues to kill unvaccinated people at much higher rates than vaccinated people, despite many unvaccinated people having some protection from prior infections. And those with weakened immune systems also face greater risks.

Covid is still killing an average of 314 people daily, one-tenth the number who were dying every day in January 2021, but, even so, an awful toll. At that rate, the virus is killing more than twice as many Americans every day as suicide or car crashes are. And many of those who survive the virus are debilitated, some of them for long after their infections.

With the country’s resources for fighting the virus drying up and many Americans forgoing booster shots, the decoupling of cases and deaths may not last. Immunity will wane and a more evasive variant could cut into people’s residual protection against severe disease.

“As the time since people got vaccinated becomes longer and longer, the efficacy of the immune response will be lessened,” said Dr. Abraar Karan, an infectious disease physician at Stanford University. “We can be caught off guard later this year.”

The link between Covid cases and deaths started weakening over the winter, scientists said, but the sheer volume of Americans getting infected meant that fatalities still soared.

This spring, Covid has been killing fewer Americans daily than during any period except the summer of 2021. The country is now recording 10 times as many cases as it was at that time, indicating that a smaller share of cases are ending in death.

By some estimates, the case fatality rate — the share of recorded Covid cases that prove deadly — is one-third lower than it was last summer and one-quarter lower than it was in December. Recorded cases always understate actual infection levels, and the prevalence of at-home testing these days has made that especially true.

To account for those problems, Dr Dowdy looked at the proportion of reported test results that are positive, a figure known as test positivity. That measure, too, is imperfect, but it reflects the enormous numbers of Americans who recently contracted the virus; some scientists estimate that the current wave of cases is the second-largest of the pandemic.

By his rough calculations, Dr Dowdy estimated that the ratio of deaths to test positivity fell threefold from the early days of the pandemic to January 2022, and fourfold from January 2022 to this spring.

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