Sunday Oct 18, 2020
Former US treasury secretary Lawrence H Summers praising Pakistan's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, said that America could have saved in the neighbourhood of $10 trillion had it followed in its footsteps.
Summers said this as he spoke to CNN on the show "Fareed Zakaria GPS".
"Told Fareed Zakaria on GPS CNN, America’s failure on COVID-19 is almost unimaginable. Heck, if the US had handled the pandemic as well as Pakistan, we would have saved in neighborhood of $10 trillion," Summers said in a tweet.
Commenting on the US coronavirus strategy, he said that the costs of an expanded testing system are trivial compared to the costs of tens of thousands of early deaths.
"Expanding testing should be a matter of utmost urgency," he said.
So far, the US has recorded more than 8.35 million cases, 224,389 deaths, and over five million recoveries from the coronavirus.
On October 2, US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for coronavirus and went into quarantine "immediately".
Trump has played down the coronavirus pandemic from its onset.
Trump, who usually avoids wearing a mask, repeated on October 17 that the country is turning the corner on the disease, shortly after the number of US cases crossed 8 million, rising by 1 million in less than a month.
Responding to the Summer's comments, former special assistant to prime minister Tania Aidrus, said that she was "glad" to see that Pakistan's efforts were recognised globally.
"Glad to see that the tireless efforts of so many heroes as part of the NCOC in the COVID-19 response are being recognised the world over!" she said in a tweet.
Last month, World Health Organization (WHO) chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus praised Pakistan’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and supported Prime Minister Imran Khan’s policy to balance life and livelihood as the country combatted the disease.
The WHO chief, in an op-ed, discussed in detail international efforts towards fighting the pandemic, remarking that “there are glimmers of hope that encourage us now and in the near future”.
While mentioning Pakistan, Dr Tedros said the country deployed the infrastructure it built up over the many years for polio to combat COVID-19.
Echoing PM Imran Khan’s policy of balancing life and livelihood, the WHO chief said, “the choice is not between controlling the virus or saving the economy; the two go hand-in-hand”.
“Community health workers who have been trained to go door-to-door vaccinating children against polio have been redeployed and utilised for surveillance, contact tracing and care,” he noted about Pakistan.