There is a prevailing perception in Pakistan that coronavirus has been contained and things are under control. Background interviews with government high-ups also reveal that officials are content with how the outbreak has panned out over the past few days.
However, results from highly data-driven AI models suggest that the threat is still real and the somewhat flattening curve for positive cases over the few days won’t persist for long.
Speaking to ProPakistani, a data scientist who is working closely with the government said that the current numbers are mainly a result of tightened lock-down from 15th March to 25th March.
The numbers are likely to increase rapidly over the next week due to the fact that people stopped observing strict social distancing after pensions and salaries were disbursed in the first week of April.
The scientist, who wanted to remain unnamed as he’s not allowed to speak with media by the government, said that data models are suggesting the outbreak is still very real and must not be taken lightly.
It must be noted here that Pakistan is relying on aggressive AI-based projections to model the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
Highly placed sources confirm that Pakistani data scientists are working very closely with the government (both civil and military) at the very highest level to draw plans to mitigate the outbreak.
“We factor in hundreds of elements in drawing models, and our numbers have been very accurate so far”, confirmed a member of the team while speaking with ProPakistani.
According to him, data from all around the world is being fed into the system to build projections. Everything from per capita income to vaccination records of individuals, from annual health budgets to the number of ICU beds available in a country, from lock-down analysis to bank account deposits of masses is factored in to come up with numbers, based on which government is taking very crucial decisions.
Our sources said that Pakistan’s policy decisions relating to COVID-19 strategy are solely based on numbers, and the government is acutely aware of the severity of the outbreak. “However, there are things beyond your control considering the local dynamics, such as we had to disburse the pensions or hundreds of thousandths of families would have had to suffer”, he remarked.
The fact that we had to allow some movement in the start of the month will result in a surge next week. “We are expecting numbers to top at least 13,000 by next weekend”, he stated.
“We are also expecting a steep rise in fatalities from 22nd April to 30th April”, he said while saying that current death rate (which is 4-5 deaths a day) is not the end of the outbreak in the country. “We must not lift restrictions, or take the outbreak lightly”, he emphasized.
“You can’t fight it through relaxed lock-downs, which a majority of Pakistanis are hoping to see in the next two-three weeks”, the source said.
According to numbers ProPakistani saw for the first time a week ago, the AI-driven projections seem to be highly accurate.
“We are being contacted by foreign governments to draw similar models for them”, the source said while revealing that Pakistani data scientists are working with Middle East countries and at least one western state to help them project numbers.