Are the Reported COVID-19 Deaths in Pakistan Higher than Being Reported?

Sindh Chief Minister, Murad Ali Shah, stated on Wednesday that he suspected the actua number of deaths from COVID-19 in Sindh could be higher than what is being reported currently.

Known deaths, where the patient tests positive and they die, are so far 41 in Sindh. However, you may have also seen reports about dead bodies being brought to hospitals, which experts say cannot be tested for the coronavirus,” he told a press conference.

The CM of Sindh could be referring to reports published in various news outlets, which claimed that more than 300 patients were brought to various public and private hospitals either dead on arrival, or extremely ill with pneumonia like symptoms, during the last 2 weeks in Karachi.

However, one Dr Amir Raza believes there is a simple explanation to the increase in deaths. Private hospitals and local clinics are shut or turning away patients, which leads to the patients rushing to hospitals that are still open, which are mostly public government hospitals. This leads to the patient volume to increase and therefore the death toll to increase in these specific facilities.

There is no scientific evidence to support this theory that more Covid-19 patients are dying [now],” he stated.

Representatives at the Edhi foundation also reported an ‘unusual increase’ in deaths in Karachi during the last two weeks. Faisal Edhi, the charity’s head, stated that the foundation has shifted a total of 387 bodies from various areas and hospitals for burial between April 1st and 13th. Last year during the same period, 230 bodies were shifted in comparison to this year’s 387. However, Edhi also admitted they were not in a position to isolate a single cause of the deaths as most of the deceased were senior citizens and faced a myriad of health complications to begin with.

Another possible explanation for the spike in deaths could be paranoia. Dr Raza said,¬†” Now everyone is paranoid. If someone hears of a death in the neighbourhood, they fear it’s from Covid-19. So naturally more people are turning to Edhi to perform ghusl (bathing of a body) and then they take the deceased to be buried from there,

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However, paramedic services like that of a Mr. Abid Naveed, executive director of Aman Health Care Services, shared that ambulances have been responding to between 30-40 calls per day of people complaining of breathing problems and chest issues, compared to 10-15 calls before the lockdown period. They have transferred 1,200 cases to hospitals since February, of whom 190 were confirmed to be positive for Covid-19.

In this complicated time, nothing is for certain except this: The only way to keep yourself and others safe from the terrible COVID-19 is to strictly practice social distancing and abide by the rules set by the government in regards to the lockdown. Save yourself and save Pakistan, by simply staying home.


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