LAHORE: Coronavirus has wreaked much more havoc in the first three months of this year in Punjab as compared to the whole of last year that saw two peaks of the infection.
The new UK variant of the virus has particularly contributed to the damage in the largest province as it spreads 70 per cent faster than the previous one. This is evident from a comparative analysis of the official Covid-19 figures reported in Punjab in 2020 and the first three months of this year.
According to the analysis, out of the total positive cases reported in the province since March 2020, 61pc were recorded during the first three months of this year. Similarly, from the Covid-19 death toll during the same period, 59pc fatalities were recorded during the last three months.
The province had witnessed two spikes of the virus in 2020 – first in May-June and the second in Oct-Nov, but the third wave prevalent since March this year has been the most devastating.
First three months of 2021 reported 61pc cases, 59pc deaths of total since March 2020 in Punjab
According to the comparative data, Punjab had recorded 138,608 positive cases and 4,042 Covid-19-related deaths from March to December last year. However, in the first three months of the ongoing year, the number of infections and deaths was 84,573 and 2,385 respectively, showing a visible difference in the impact of the disease.
The data further showed that Lahore shared the major burden by reporting an alarmingly high Covid-19 positivity rate of 23pc. In March this year only, 485 patients died of the virus, while 1,708 tested positive for the virus in the city.
Quoting some recent reports, medical experts believed that the new variant has been much harmful and unpredictable as compared to the previous one, claiming many lives within a few days of their admission to hospitals. Most of the deaths were reported in the 60 to 70 years of age group.
According to the analysis, March 2021 proved the most fatal in Punjab, claiming 1,013 lives and reporting 49,043 infections because of the UK variant that multiplied the new infection and death rates.
Meanwhile, 58 patients died of Covid-19 during the last 24 hours and 2772 more tested positive across the province. The update showed that the total number of deaths in Punjab has reached 6,485 with 225,953 infections. Of the new positive cases, 1,484 were reported from Lahore alone.
A spokesperson for the health department said that 17,343 people were vaccinated against Covid in Punjab during the last 24 hours.
Published in Dawn, April 3rd, 2021