KASB COVID-19 UPDATE: The government might deserve some credit

The rate of growth of new cases has fallen substantially and global markets have rallied today on the back of that. In the US, new cases increased by 8.3% on Sunday, much lower than the 30%+ growth a few days back. Chart 4 below shows the bending of the curve.


• Our post on the number of deaths in Pakistan being much lower than other countries became viral and got a lot of questions. Some thought the statistics are not reliable and others believe that there is merit to high immunity hypothesis. In any case, it is impossible to make any view on the market without any strong opinion on this question. Unfortunately, it is too early to have any credible predictions.


• We tracked, Pakistan cases growth over the past 40 day since the first case was diagnosed. On simple comparison of the first 40 days, Pakistan fears quite poorly. Look at Chart 2 below. Pakistan’s 3,277 cases and 50 deaths are similar to Spain’s.


• We think this might be due to other factors – such as initial reporting of cases might have been slow. Our view is that most countries started to react more aggressively once the case count crossed 100. It has been 21 days since Pakistan crossed the 100th case. Chart 3 shows that Pakistan’s performance post the first 100 cases has
been much superior to the performance of other countries during this period. The exponential growth has not happened yet, and we pray that we avoid it. We are conscious that testing data is not reliable due to lack of new tests, but the data shows similar performance on casualties.


• The State’s response deserves credit. The ratings of leaders of most countries has gone up substantially during the crisis. Even in the US, President Trumps ratings have gone up and same in the UK with Boris Johnson. I think it is not the case in Pakistan, where the media has become much more critical of the government. The press commentary by the Prime Minister does sound confusing yet despite that, the data shows that response has been much more successful than what is being recognized. After all, when did we expect the police to even try to restrict religious gatherings?


• Our rudimentary channel checks through friends and families indicates very few COVID cases admitted in the hospitals. Someone said only 9 at AKU. During Spring, PIMS in Islamabad gets filled with patients with pollen allergy. The situation right now doesn’t seem similar to that. Maybe patients are quarantined at homes at the isolation centers. We will try to get more insights into this – it’s the only “strategy question” which matters.


We pray for the good health of you and your families.

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