So far, over 277,000 known coronavirus cases and more than 7,000 deaths have been reported in the US, the world’s largest economy.
Pakistan, a country whose economy is nowhere near as large as the US or any other developed country’s, is now experiencing a spike in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases.
As of Saturday, 2,579 people have tested positive for the virus, while 39 patients have died. Medical experts fear that the situation could worsen.
Children’s Hospital hematologist Dr Saqib Hussain Ansari gave his projections on SAMAA TV’s programme Agenda 360 on Friday night.
He said we are 100 times more vulnerable to the virus’ devastation considering the massive difference between the healthcare systems of Pakistan and the US.
“If the top government scientists in the US have predicted that 100,000 [to 240,000] more Americans will die of the virus, you can multiply that figure by 100 and get Pakistan’s future numbers,” Dr Ansari said.
The haematologist warned that a mere difference in the number of ventilators available in the countries is enough to give an idea of the horror that awaits Pakistan.
In Karachi alone, if the health of a patient deteriorates, they have to wait for 24 hours for a ventilator, he said.
“Even our big hospitals have a waiting period of four to six hours after which emergency doctors attend to the patient.”
Dr Ansari also said the lockdown in Pakistan was not working in several areas. “We went to Lyari [in Karachi] and couldn’t find an empty spot where you can put a foot,” he said, meaning that the streets were brimming with people.
“How can [social distancing] work if a family has 12 members and they live in a small house?” he questioned, adding that this is a typical case in less-developed areas of the country.
The haematologist added that the mortality rate can be reduced to 50% if the health authorities ensure preventive measures are followed.
Speaking about plasma transfusion to treat coronavirus patients, Dr Ansari explained that those who tested negative for the virus are eligible to donate their plasma even a month after recovery.
He also shared two studies by Chinese doctors which showed that plasma transfusion worked in most critical cases.