Coronavirus testing

Letter June 28, 2020
If we lower the number of daily tests then of course cases will go down

KARACHI: Covid-19 has hit developing countries like Pakistan quite severely. Such countries have limited resources that restricts them from fighting against the pandemic or even from mitigating the effects. While this is understandable that the attitude towards coronavirus testing in Pakistan has been lackluster to say the least, news reports often exclude the mention of how many cases are conducted across the country each day.

Coronavirus like other diseases has an incubation period where the harmful agent multiplies inside the body until they reach a level where symptoms begin to emerge. The incubation phase for deadly virus can range between 30 to 14 days. Moreover, there are also asymptomatic carriers who will never show any symptoms of the disease. Both these types of people can only be detected through testing and in the midst of a reduction in cases over the past few days, it was also revealed that the number of daily tests being conducted had gone down.

This is a troubling development because it undermines the extent of the disease. It also entails building false hope among the population regarding the true spread of the disease. If we lower the number of daily tests then of course cases will go down. Pakistan already has one of the lowest testing averages anywhere in the world and further cutting that number means taking the pandemic lightly even though cases are rapidly spiking across the world. The authorities need to pay heed to this or otherwise face formidable consequences.

Syed Hussain Qumber Rizvi

Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2020.

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