Pakistan records another corona death-free day

NCOC data shows infections were also down to 210, positivity ratio at 0.69%: Covid comeback seen in parts of US as funding runs dry

By: News Desk
Published: 09:26 AM, 24 Mar, 2022
Pakistan coronavirus
Caption: File photo.
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All the coronavirus indicators in Pakistan have been slowing down sharply for many days now and the country spent another day, second in a row, without recording any Covid-related death while infections were also on the lower side.

Pakistan has registered another zero coronavirus death during the last 24 hours (Wednesday), showed figures of National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) released on Wednesday morning. 

As per the latest NCOC data, the number of deaths was obviously unchanged at 30,333 which is now two-day old, whereas the number of total infections now stood at 1,523,072 after adding the fresh 210 cases.

During the last 24 hours (Wednesday), 30,054 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio stood at 0.69 percent. The number of patients in critical care was 445.

During the last 24 hours (Wednesday), as many as 180 patients have recovered from the virus whereas the total recoveries stood at 1,484,676. As of Thursday, the total count of active cases in the country was recorded at 8,063.

As many as 574,239 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Sindh, 504,639 in Punjab, 218,819 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 135,003 in Islamabad, 35,460 in Balochistan, 43,237 in Azad Kashmir and 11,675 in Gilgit-Baltistan.

No death reported again during the past 24 hours (Wednesday) meant that the toll remained the same in all the regions as was two days before: 13,551 individuals have lost their lives to the pandemic in Punjab so far, 8,092 in Sindh, 6,307 in KP, 1,022 in Islamabad, 792 in Azad Kashmir, 378 in Balochistan and 191 in Gilgit Baltistan.

Covid comeback seen in parts of US

Covid-19 is making its latest comeback in parts of the northeastern United States as the BA.2 coronavirus variant becomes dominant in the country, officials said Wednesday, while urging Congress to pass new funding or risk the supply of future treatments and vaccines.

The country is currently registering an average of 28,600 cases per day, down well below the last peak of more than 800,000 average daily infections, seen in January. 

Covid-19 deaths are running at around 900 per day -- with a total of one million deaths from the disease expected withing about a month.

But Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Rochelle Walensky told reporters there were early signs of a new wave.

"We have seen a small increase in reported Covid-19 cases in New York state and New York City and some increases in people in hospital with COVID-19 in New England, specifically where the BA.2 variant has been reaching levels above 50 percent (prevalence)," she said.

Wastewater surveillance, an early warning measure of rising cases, also showed a modest uptick of the virus in some communities around the country, she added.

The BA.2 variant does not appear to cause more severe disease than the original Omicron, BA.1, nor does it seem more likely to evade immune protection -- but it is more transmissible.

BA.2 currently accounts for 35 percent of cases nationally and is expected to become dominant soon.

The expected rebound comes as Congress declined to add $22.5 billion in Covid funding to a spending bill passed last week

"At this stage, our resources are depleted," health secretary Xavier Becerra said. 

"The fund Congress established to reimburse doctors and other medical providers for Covid care for Americans, in particular the uninsured, is no longer accepting new claims for testing or treatment services as of yesterday."

On or around April 5, there is expected to be no money for new claims for vaccination services, he added.

Supplies of monoclonal antibody treatments to states were cut by 35 percent, and the treatments are expected to run out by May.

White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients added that in terms of vaccines, there was enough supply to give fourth doses to the immune compromised, and if authorized in coming weeks, to seniors.

"However, if the science shows that fourth doses are needed for the general population later this year, we will not have the supply necessary to ensure shots are available, free and easy to access for all Americans," he added.

That would also apply to new variant-specific vaccines that may be required, Zients said, and ran counter to the strategy of prudently purchasing new supply as several other countries, including  Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines and Hong Kong have begun to do, he said.

"Further congressional inaction will set us back, leave us less prepared, and cost more lives," he said.

With inputs from AFP.