Having vanished completely earlier, the coronavirus has made a comeback of late with a second wave, initiating all sorts of panic, from nano micro mini smart lockdowns to reconsidering the opening of schools.
Wrong. None of it happened. Corona never went away. There is no second wave.
The coronavirus never really “vanished” as was the perception last month. It was just that the positively rate had dropped considerably and very sharply – and testing was down – which led to substantially lower number of daily cases. Then came higher testing, which went up by a third over the previous 30-day period. The positivity rate, meanwhile, continued to be under 2 percent.
Now because the virus never really went away, you can’t expect zero cases every day. Case in point is Germany, which is often cited as a success story by the World Health Organization (WHO). Now Germany has seen a considerable rise in daily cases – almost trebled in a month. This is in line with the rise in cases in most of Europe which certainly is witnessing a second wave. But Germany’s positivity rate continues to be flat since it flattened – which only indicates there has been more testing – and not necessarily a second wave.
Similar is the case with Pakistan. Pakistan’s testing suddenly went up in September. The number of cases on a daily basis started to look taller. But the positivity rate has remained flat at under 2 percent for over six weeks now, which is a remarkable feat and indication enough that the spread is well under control. There have bene nine consecutive weeks and counting of the positivity rate under 3 percent, which is considered the critical level to determine whether the outbreak is under control.
This is not to say there can’t possibly be a second wave in Pakistan. But it can be said with some degree of confidence that a second wave looks highly improbable. Studies dating back to July have shown the seropositivity rate at 36 percent, which in all likelihood is expected to rise significantly by now (see: Has Pakistan acquired herd immunity? published Sep 25, 2020). There is no need to panic, and the government is seemingly doing it right by ensuring the guard is not lowered.