Why the densely populated South Asia is less affected by COVID19?

less affected by COVID19 cases in South Asia and reason

Cases in South Asia are far less affected by COVID19 than the rest of the world. In this type of situation, governments have to take tough decisions; same as taken by the government of Pakistan. They closed all schools, colleges and universities. Besides this, all educational institutions and all the public events got cancelled including the ongoing PSL matches and the IPL as well.

Government has been criticized by the masses and people including the opposition parties didn’t support the decision. The speculation about the cases was high. It was believed by the government that cases may reach up to 50,000 till 25th of April 2020. But it happened other way around, despite the partial lockdown, cases increased with a minimum level. It has reached to nearly 14,000 cases so far which is 72 percent lower than expected. And the death rate is 2%, almost 3% lower as compared to United States of America where it is more than 5%.  Thus, the factor brought the attention of the people to find out the reason why this region is less affected by COVID19.

Same is the situation in other densely populated South Asian countries, Like in India, total cases so far are 29451 and death rate is 3.2%, slightly higher than Pakistan but even less affected by COVID19 comparing to the rest of the world. In other South Asian countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Maldives, the cases are lower as compare to other top economies of the world. As of April 27, the total number of cases in the world are 3,055,651, including 1,004,942 in USA, 229,422 in Spain, 199,414 in Italy, 165,842 in France, 158,389 and 157,249 are in Germany and UK respectively. This shows the number of cases in these countries is several times higher than the other parts of the world. 32% of total cases are in America alone, and if we combine these 6 countries, they contribute 57% of the cases in total.

As on 26th April 2020, Cases in South Asian countries:

Pakistan: 12,273 cases, 269 deaths

Maldives: 177 cases, 0 deaths

Afghanistan: 1,463 cases, 47 deaths

India: 24,942 cases, 779 deaths

Globally: 2.89 million cases, 202k deaths

Bangladesh: 4,998 cases, 140 deaths

Sri Lanka: 452 cases, 7 deaths

Nepal: 49 cases, 0 deaths

Even though South Asia has more than 20 percent of the world’s total population with high-density rate, the cases are far less.

What could be the possible reason for less affected by COVID19?

The first and foremost is the low number of testing. The countries like Spain, USA, Italy and Germany have conducted tests up to 28,000 per million of the population, whereas South Asian countries, like Pakistan, only conducted tests maximum 652 per million of the population. If they have tested more, the number of cases would have been different.

The demographic and climate change between the regions could have been the other reason. The people here already deal with many of the severe infections in a large number and use different vaccinations throughout their life to prevent them. The weather here is warmer, having more sunlight and humidity, makes it difficult for the virus to spread too quickly. As this kind of weather is less favourable for the virus. Demography of the region is also quite different as the majority of the population in the region is younger between 20-40 years of age. And people above 60 or 70 are not more than 5 percent of the total population. As COVID’19 affected the people above 60 years of age more than the younger population, the people in this region are less on the risk.

The government of Pakistan hopes that the trend continues this way and curve will become straight very soon.

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