Coronavirus infections take a plunge in Pakistan

NIH data reports no death for fifth consecutive day: Study says Omicron lasts three days less than Delta for boosted: House speaker Pelosi latest high-profile Covid case in Washington

By: News Desk
Published: 09:22 AM, 8 Apr, 2022
Pakistan coronavirus
Caption: Employees working at a makeshift hospital that will be used for Covid-19 coronavirus patients in Shanghai, China.–AFP
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As the number of fatalities vanish from the Pakistani coronavirus pandemic for the fifth consecutive day, the rate of infections along with other Covid-19 indicators was also going down gradually.

Pakistan has reported the fifth continuous coronavirus death-free day with the number of single-day infections plunging to 141 during the last 24 hours (Thursday), showed the figures released by the National Institute of Health Pakistan on Friday morning.

As per the latest NIH data, the death toll from the coronavirus remained unchanged for the fifth continuous day at 30,361, whereas the number of total infections now stood at 1,526,234 after adding the fresh 141 cases.

During the last 24 hours (Thursday), 27,003 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio stood at 0.52 percent. The number of patients in critical care was 280.

During the last 24 hours (Thursday), as many as 116 patients have recovered from the virus whereas the total recoveries stood at 1,486,650. As of Friday, the total count of active cases in the country was recorded at 9,223.

As many as 576,110 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Sindh, 505,307 in Punjab, 219,223 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 135,112 in Islamabad, 35,479 in Balochistan, 43,286 in Azad Kashmir and 11,717 in Gilgit-Baltistan.

As many as 13,558 individuals have lost their lives to the pandemic in Punjab so far, 8,097 in Sindh, 6,322 in KP, 1,023 in Islamabad, 792 in Azad Kashmir, 378 in Balochistan and 191 in Gilgit Baltistan.


Omicron lasts three days less than Delta for boosted

People who are vaccinated and have had a booster shot against Covid-19 recover from symptoms from the Omicron variant more than three days earlier than those with the Delta variant, a study said Friday.

The study also found that people with Omicron are significantly less likely to lose their sense of smell, and confirmed previous research that it is less severe.

To find out the differences in how Omicron and Delta make sufferers sick, researchers used a free smartphone app called ZOE on which more than 63,000 vaccinated people in Britain aged 16-99 self-reported their Covid symptoms between June 2021 and January 2022. 

For those with two vaccine doses plus a booster, symptoms from Omicron lasted 4.4 days, compared to 7.7 for Delta -- a difference of 3.3 days. 

People who had two doses but no booster shot saw Omicron symptoms clear up in 8.3 days, compared to 9.6 days for Delta, according to the study published in the Lancet medical journal.

The swifter recovery suggests "that the period of infectiousness might be shorter, which would in turn impact workplace health policies and public health guidance," the researchers said.

The study, which will be presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases in Lisbon later this month, also found that only 17 percent of those with Omicron lost their sense of smell, compared to 53 percent for Delta.

However people with Omicron had a 55-percent increased risk of getting a sore throat, and were 24 percent more likely to develop a hoarse voice.

The study also found that Omicron patients were 25 percent less likely to be admitted to hospital.

Study author Cristina Menni of King's College London said it was the first peer-reviewed paper with a large number of participants that looked at the different symptoms of the two variants.

While the study covered a period before the Omicron BA.2 variant swept the world, "recent data from the app show no change in symptoms in BA.2 compared to BA.1," she told AFP.

House speaker latest high-profile Covid case in Washington

Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives, has tested positive for Covid-19, her spokesman said Thursday, making her the latest Washington power player to catch the virus.

The 82-year-old lawmaker from California, who is second in line to the presidency, is vaccinated and boosted and is currently asymptomatic, her spokesman Drew Hammill said on Twitter.

Pelosi, who attended two White House events this week with President Joe Biden, is among several high-profile Covid cases in the US capital.

Among those reporting a positive test Thursday were Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, two senators -- Maine Republican Susan Collins and Democrat Raphael Warnock of Georgia -- and House Democrat Angie Craig of Minnesota.

At least two members of Biden's cabinet -- Attorney General Merrick Garland, 69, and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, 50 -- and several lawmakers tested positive for the coronavirus this week after attending a gala dinner in Washington last weekend. Collins also attended the event.

About half a dozen journalists and members of the White House staff who were at the dinner have also tested positive, according to press reports, along with Jamal Simmons, the communications director for Vice President Kamala Harris.

Although Simmons was a close contact, Harris maintained her public schedule and presided over Thursday's historic Senate vote confirming Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first Black woman to sit on the US Supreme Court.

Pelosi did not attend the annual Gridiron Club dinner, which brings together top politicians, media figures, members of the diplomatic corps and business leaders for a night of comedy.

But the House speaker was at a bill-signing event at the White House on Wednesday with Biden and another event there on Tuesday with Biden and former president Barack Obama.

Most of the attendees at the White House events were maskless.

- Asia trip postponed -

The White House said the 79-year-old Biden, who did not attend the Gridiron dinner, was not considered a "close contact" of Pelosi and they had only "brief interactions."

Biden tested negative for Covid on Wednesday evening and "will continue to be tested regularly," the White House said.

"The president wishes Speaker Pelosi a speedy recovery," it said.

Pelosi's spokesman tweeted that "the Speaker is fully vaccinated and boosted, and is thankful for the robust protection the vaccine has provided."

Pelosi cancelled a press conference planned for Thursday and her spokesman said a congressional visit to Asia she intended to lead has been postponed to a later date.

Pelosi will quarantine in line with the guidance of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, her spokesman said.

With inputs from AFP.