|CNN GPS Anchor Fareed Zakaria|
Data on Pakistan's Response to COVID19:
Is Fareed Zakaria right? Has Pakistan really done nothing to fight COVID19 pandemic? Let's answer this question.
The first answer can be found in the video flashes from Pakistan that were playing as Fareed Zakaria was disparaging Pakistan's efforts to control the spread pf coronavirus. The video shows people wearing masks on the streets in Pakistan. It also shows a worker spraying disinfectant. Another scene shows worshippers wearing masks while sitting apart from each other in a mosque. Does Fareed Zakaria think "nothing" of what is visible on the screen in his show? Did he ask his producer what was being transmitted to the audience as he spoke?
|COVID19: Government Response Stringency Index. Source: Our World in Data|
The second and more data-centric answer can be seen in the "Government Response Stringency Index" that tracks various restrictions imposed by governments to control the spread of coronavirus. The Index tracks restrictions including school closures, workplace closures, and travel bans, scaled from 0 to 100 where 100 is the strictest response. It's based on data from Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker. The tracker shows that Pakistan government response was nearly as stringent as India's and more stringent than that of the United Kingdom.
Another indicator of restrictions comes from Google Mobility Index which also confirms dramatic effect of lockdown imposed by federal and provincial governments in Pakistan. It shows that mobility was down as much as 65% during the lockdown when compared with the period just prior to the lockdown.
|CNN GPS Screenshot|
Health Chief Dr. Zafar Mirza's Interview:
What has improved the COVID19 situation in Pakistan? Is it just Pakistan's good fortune? Why is it so different from the situation in neighboring India where the infections are rising? Is it the result of a series of deliberate interventions by Pakistan's government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan? What are the key factors contributing to falling coronavirus transmission rate in the country? Here are some of Pakistan's Health Chief Dr. Zafar Mirza's answers to these questions that came to light in a recent interview with Pakistani journalist Bilal Lakhani:
1. There were 50 different interventions with 2300 smart lockdowns covering 47 million people based on data driven evidence of disease spread.
2. Significant change in people's behavior with large percentage wearing masks and taking other precautions to prevent transmission.
3. A fall in positivity from over 22% to below 10%, and excluding Sindh, near 5% for the country.
4. Significant decline in hospitalizations and fewer patients in critical care.
5. The government staying the course while ignoring the mass hysteria for total nationwide lockdown like India's stirred up in the media came mainly from the well-fed rich and the upper middle class. The voices of the ordinary people and daily wage earners were not part of public discourse reported by the media.
Zakaria's Views on Terrorism:
Fareed Zakaria has often talked of what he labels "Islamic Terrorism", a label that both Presidents Barack Obama and Geoge W. Bush shunned. Both ex presidents rejected associating terrorism with any religion. But not Fareed Zakaria who has essentially toed the Indian line of calling it "Islamic Terrorism" and labeled Pakistan as "epicenter of Islamic Terrorism".
Far from being objective, Zakaria is in fact a cheerleader for India, the country of his birth. In his book "The Post-American World", he describes India as a "powerful package" and claims India has been "peaceful, stable, and prosperous".
CNN GPS host Fareed Zakaria has shown yet again that he is incapable of being objective when it comes to discussing anything related to Pakistan. He claims that Pakistan "has done almost nothing" in fighting COVID19 pandemic, a claim that is debunked by "Government Response Stringency Index" and Google Mobility Reports. In fact, the video flashes from Pakistan that were playing as Fareed Zakaria was disparaging Pakistan's efforts to control the spread pf coronavirus show people wearing masks on the streets in Pakistan. They also shows a worker spraying disinfectant. Another scene shows worshippers wearing masks while sitting apart from each other in a mosque. Fareed Zakaria's bias against Pakistan is ridiculously obvious to any objective observer who has even the slightest knowledge of the country.
Here's a video clip from CNN GPS Show:
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