On Friday, when Pakistan saw a record 63 people lose their lives to coronavirus – the highest number of deaths we have had in a single day so far – one of Karachi’s hospitals was attacked by assailants reportedly claiming that the pandemic was a hoax. There are numerous cases of doctors or hospitals being attacked by patients or family members, and there is a lot that needs unpacking in this turn of events.

The foremost concern is for doctors, healthcare staff, the administration of the hospital and the patients within; everyone at these healthcare facilities is either putting their lives on the line to save others, or is trying to stave off death by the virus. Endangering their lives even further through these attacks is unforgiveable.

In the case of Karachi, there were an estimated seventy assailants that charged on the hospital. This also opens up further avenues for infection among the general public, considering the attackers escaped without any repercussions.

For both these reasons, provincial and federal administrations must beef up security at all healthcare facilities. Incidents of this sort are dangerous to doctors, existing patients and stand to increase the frequency of infections.

But on a deeper level, the problem of misinformation and the proliferation of conspiracy theories has now taken a much darker and more dangerous turn. The most ridiculous concocted fables are leading people to make irrational decisions which will be detrimental for themselves and society in general. The only solution for this is greater awareness and if possible, tracing the problem back to its source – who is propagating such lies and for what reason? Innocuous ideas, no matter how far-fetched are acceptable; here misinformation is directly leading to the potential deaths of citizens. This cannot go on.