Thanks to vaccination, Karachi sees significant drop in Covid cases

Published August 7, 2022
A paramedic collects a sample by inserting a nasal swab to perform the Covid-19 rapid antigen test at the vaccination centre set up in the historic Khaliq Dina Hall on M.A. Jinnah Road on Saturday.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
A paramedic collects a sample by inserting a nasal swab to perform the Covid-19 rapid antigen test at the vaccination centre set up in the historic Khaliq Dina Hall on M.A. Jinnah Road on Saturday.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: At least 13 Covid-19 patients have succumbed to the infection at different hospitals in a week in the city, which has seen a significant reduction in the number of coronavirus cases over the past two months, it emerged on Saturday.

Sources said the case positivity ratio in the city had dropped from 20-25 per cent in July to 1.36pc in August.

They said nine of the 13 deaths were reported on Aug 2 — the highest single day Covid-related death toll in two months — in the city, which had earlier reported as many deaths on July 15. Four mortalities were reported on Aug 3.

“We have had eight deaths in August. All patients were above 60 years and had co-morbidities including diabetes and high blood pressure. Two patients were suffering from renal failure,” said Dr Abdul Wahid Rajput, medical superintendent of the Sindh Infectious Disease Hospital and Research Centre at Nipa.

While 13 deaths reported in city in one week, August positivity rate stands at 1.36pc

The patients, six of them residents of Karachi, had been critically ill for several days and were on ventilator, he told Dawn.

Asked about the current status of Covid-19 patients at the facility, Dr Rajput said 16 Covid-19 patients were under treatment, two of them children including a two-month-old baby.

“The other one is a five-year-old. Both children are stable. The baby seemed to have caught the infection during a hospital visit or from an infected relative as both parents have no recent history of the infection,” he explained.

Recalling last month’s experience when the infection hit its peak in the city, Dr Rajput said the staff had no problem at all in patient management.

“The maximum number of admitted patients we had on a single day was 30. Their treatment and care wasn’t a big deal at all given our experience with the disease and patients over the past two years. Now, we are getting one to two patients on a daily basis,” he said.

The 150-bedded hospital can accommodate 48 patients in three intensive care units and 100 patients in its high dependency units.

Presently, 16 Covid patients, six in critical condition, are being treated at the facility.

Vaccination did help

On the current status of Covid cases in Karachi, Dr Saeed Khan, a professor of molecular pathology heading the Sindh Public Health Lab at the Dow University of Health Sciences, said the situation had improved across the city, though the cases were on the rise in Punjab and northern areas.

“However, the positive thing is less patient hospitalisation and reduced number of deaths, which has been achieved through vaccination,” he said.

About the new variant/s, he said there were minor changes within the Omicron sub-variant but there were no reports of any new virus or sub-variant so far.

When contacted, a health department official admitted that there were 13 deaths this month. No reply, however, was received when asked where these deaths were reported.

Karachi was the most affected part of the province since the start of the sixth Covid wave in June with 340 positive cases in a week, raising the positivity rate to 10.69pc.

Experts held a new sub-variant of Omicron (BA.5), which had already been reported in other countries and Pakistan, responsible for the fast spread of the disease.

A vast majority of Covid patients, they said, didn’t report at health facilities at all and safely recovered at home.

Published in Dawn, August 7th, 2022

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