How Pakistan Dodged the Worst of COVID-19
How Pakistan Dodged the Worst of COVID-19

This was an unexpected result in a country whose neighbors — India and Bangladesh — still have growing case numbers. But the country might not be out of danger just yet.

A municipal worker checks the body temperature of a man queuing along with other people at a low-rate food distribution point during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown, Karachi. (Photo by RIZWAN TABASSUM/AFP via Getty Images)

A municipal worker checks the body temperature of a man queuing along with other people at a low-rate food distribution point during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown, Karachi. (Photo by RIZWAN TABASSUM/AFP via Getty Images)

Saman Hamid could not recall the last time an infection made her feverish. So when the thermometer continued to register a temperature above 38°C (100.4°F), she worried her body was dealing with something more virulent than anything it had encountered before. Soon after, she lost her sense of taste and smell, and developed a cough, severe fatigue, and breathlessness. A COVID-19 test and chest X-ray confirmed what her family and friends had quietly resigned themselves to: Hamid was now part of Pakistan’s ballooning list of coronavirus cases.

It was mid-June and coronavirus cases were crescendoing in Pakistan after the Eid al-Fitr holiday in the last week of May. On June 14, the numbers peaked as Pakistan registered 6,825 new infections. Pakistan’s chronically underfunded hospitals were teeming with COVID-19 cases, available beds were scarce, and prospective patients could not find a hospital to admit them. Essential medicines, oxygen, and ventilators

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