Data leak reveals that Nicaraguan government lied about the impact of COVID-19



A leak of official information from the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health (Minsa), carried out by the group Anonymous, has revealed that the Nicaraguan government hid 6,245 positive COVID-19 cases between March 18th and July 24th, 2020.

An analysis of the data conducted by Doctor Álvaro Ramírez, former director of epidemiology at Minsa, indicates that out of the 17,249 tests that the institution performed between February and July, 56% were positive. That is to say, 9,683 citizens were infected with the virus, three times more than what was officially reported by the Government.

The information also details that, among those infected, 1,172 people were part of the health personnel. Twenty-three children below the age of one also tested positive.

The data reveals that the Nicaraguan government has had daily access to the real number of COVID-19 cases. However, Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo decided to hide this information in the weekly reports to the population.

Doctor Álvaro Ramírez is not surprised by this concealment of data, but questions “the fact that the information was there, it reached the presidency every day, and that for whatever reason that we cannot easily understand, they chose to lie to the population, change the data, and include different data”, which means that the Ministry was “deliberately” ordered to report a lower figure.

The presidency and the Ministry of Health have remained silent regarding the leak. Daniel Ortega only recently acknowledged that the pandemic has killed data personnel. However, he did not offer data on the real impact of COVID-19 on the healthcare sector.

The COVID-19 Citizen Observatory (Observatorio Ciudadano COVID-19) raised its independent registry of the pandemic to 9,822 suspected cases of COVID-19 and 2,62 deaths associated with coronavirus. The death toll contrasts with the official count of the Ministry of Health, an institution that only admits 122 deaths and registers 4,311 positive cases until August 18. To date, the Observatory registers 105 health workers who have died due to COVID-19 infections, as well as infections in 74 municipalities in the country.

The Panamerican Health Organization (PAHO) called on the Nicaraguan government to reduce public activities that persist in the country because they could cause a second outbreak of infections and deaths due to COVID-19.

In a recent virtual conference, the director of Health Emergencies of the Organization reiterated that one of the most important measures to reduce transmission is physical distancing and warned that large crowds of people promote transmission from one person to another.

“These events should be reduced, as is being done throughout the world,” Ugarte said, referencing the case of Nicaragua. “Failure to comply with the distancing measures, especially in conditions where there is an apparent decrease in the number of cases, can later lead to a very significant increase in infections. A massive increase in cases has a direct impact on mortality rates because health services are saturated in a very short term,” he insisted.

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