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Editorial: Downward trajectory

The coronavirus pandemic is still spreading rapidly worldwide as over 11 million people have been diagnosed with the novel virus. In Afghanistan, more than 33,000 people have been infected and over 880 have died so far. However, looking at the recent trends, the number of COVID-19 positive cases average around 200 to 250 in the country and shows that the official figures for daily infections have fallen across the country. This is while according to the WHO, the world saw the biggest jump in daily new Covid-19 cases on June 28 with 212,326 cases in 24 hours. The figures for Covid-19 infections are indeed looking positive, but are in sharp contrast to trends in most other countries. Given what we know about the fast transmission of the virus and the lack of proper management and handling of the crisis, more clarity is needed on why cases in Afghanistan are decreasing that soon. The question here is whether herd immunity has been achieved in Afghanistan or not. The fact that there has been underreporting of the cases, as well as stigma attached to corona patients, which caused people to remain reluctant to visit hospitals or seek medical attention, the possibility that Afghanistan has flattened the curve couldn’t be ruled out completely. We have witnessed an increase in instances of unconfirmed deaths and burials because people see it as a taboo to reveal that the cause of death is COVID-19. Therefore, officials and epidemiologists should examine and investigate this decrease in official figures very closely. It may well be that Afghanistan has gone through the threatening phase or that testing has been deliberately decreased; whatever the case, there is still a possibility of resurgence. The government needs to continue its awareness campaigns as we are nearing Eid-ul-Adha because it’s highly likely that people would further relax the lockdowns in the run-up to Eid and thus pave way for increase in the transmission rate. It is far too early to be optimistic about this downward trajectory of the virus and further assurances are needed in order to be a hundred percent sure that Afghanistan is out of danger.

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