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Did ‘Behavioural Changes’ Drop Covid-19 Positivity Rate to 12%?

It seems the federal government is right to claim that the Covid-19 curve is flattening in Pakistan, with ‘positivity rate falling to 11-12 per cent in July’.

Researcher and activist Ammar Rashid said, after going through the available date and talking to people concerned, there were ‘substantive reasons to believe that the drop in cases isn’t just about reduced testing and there’s some basis for cautious optimism’.

According to the data shared by him, he believed that the curve was flattening due to a change in people’s behaviour among other factors.

In a series of tweets, the researcher said initially there was a decrease in infections due to reduction in tests, but ‘after June 29, testing levels plateaued at around 22,500/day while new cases continued to fall’.

He said the positivity rate was also reduced to 11-12 per cent in July as compared to 22 per cent in June.

 

He added that the effective reproduction number as per the Harvard School of Public Health was <1 in recent weeks.


The hospitalisation rate and ventilator occupancy have also seen a downward trend in July, as only 3,000 patients were admitted to hospitals on July 17 as opposed to 7,500 on June 18, according to Ammar.


Whereas the decrease in ventilator occupancy suggested a decrease in severe infection, he said, adding that this could also be attributed to changes in clinical practices.


Giving reasons for the decrease in cases, Ammar said this could be due to ‘a combination of a) mass behavioral change after Eid catastrophe; b) lockdowns in 400+ hotspots in June; c) increased mask use; & d) immunological variables we still know very little about’.


He also expressed concerns about the upcoming social events, like Eid and Muharram, which could ‘unravel much of this progress’.

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