As virus cases soar, Pakistan says it must keep economy open

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Coronavirus infections are soaring in Pakistan, overwhelming its hospitals and forcing them to turn away patients. The government, however, says it has no choice but to lift some restrictions to salvage a near-collapsed economy. Since the pandemic began, the number of people living in poverty has risen to 40%, up from 30% of the population of 220 million people. But with stores, markets and public transportation open, the infection rate has shot up. Authorities are urging the public to wear masks and practice social distancing, but few of them do. Many people dismiss the danger of the virus and believe various conspiracy theories about it.