Nicaragua’s Ministry of Health Admits Rapid Growth of Covid-19 Cases

Photo: screenshot from the Esta Semana program.

In one week, the government doubled the number of deaths and nearly tripled the confirmed cases of Covid-19, although they continue covering up the express burials and the rampant community spread.

By Yader Luna  (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – In one week, from May 19 to May 26, Nicaragua officially went from 279 to 759 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the newly released official report of the Ministry of Health (Minsa).

Carlos Saenz, Minsa Secretary General, read the official statement, in which 18 new deaths were added to the previous statistic of 17 that was given on May 19, for a total of 35 deaths attributed to the novel Coronavirus in Nicaragua.

As has been the case since April 27, Minsa affirms: “the cases have presented as outbreaks tied to clearly established contacts,” without officially admitting that there is local community spread. The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) itself has warned of the clear evidence of community transmission, along with doctors from the country’s hospitals and independent epidemiologists.

Last week’s report of 254 new cases of COVID-19 led PAHO to conclude that, in Nicaragua, the spread of the novel Coronavirus, “is now from the community”, even though the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo haven’t recognized this, PAHO director of health emergencies, Ciro Ugarte, noted.

Ugarte also called on Nicaragua to make their data on COVID-19 more transparent, offering the public reliable information on the pandemic, “so that the population can take adequate preventive measures,” reduce community spread, protect the health workers and implement measures to maintain the essential health services of the community.

Confusing statistics

Minsa once again admitted that there had been other deaths attributed to pulmonary embolism, diabetes mellitus, heart attack, hypertension, and bacterial pneumonia,” among patient who were in follow-up, without specifying the exact number of those deaths.

The most recent report of the independent  group COVID-19 Citizen’s Observatory, which bases its data on input from the population with follow-up from independent doctors, registered a total of 2,323 suspected cases and 404 deaths from pneumonia or verified suspicion of COVID-19.

“From the beginning of the pandemic through today, we’ve attended and provided responsible and careful follow up to 885 people,” declared the Minsa official this week.

This chart gives the official Nicaraguan government statistics from May 26 on Covid-19 confirmed cases.

Last week, though, Health Minister Martha Reyes, indicated while reading the report: “From the beginning of the pandemic through today, we’ve attended and provided responsible and careful follow-up to 470 people.”  To date, Minsa hasn’t clarified if the number refers to the total of registered cases, or only suspected cases, since up through the end of April the confirmed cases were presented as “delicate but stable” or “delicate and being attended.”

Recovered cases

According to the Minsa report, through Tuesday, May 26, a total of 370 Nicaraguans have recovered from the Coronavirus, including the 199 recovered patients reported the previous week.  In other words, in one week, 171 people were cured.

Epidemiologists have pointed out that it’s impossible for such a large number of cases to have recovered from one week to the next, when the incubation period of the virus is up to 14 days.

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