A study entitled “Covid-19 and opacity: The death formula in Nicaragua” concluded that the Government of Daniel Ortega hides the deaths and infections of the covid-19, does not carry out diagnostic tests and under-executes the funds allocated to the care of the pandemic.
“There is responsibility of the authorities after the denial of the pandemic, the failure to take measures and then a huge cover-up of the mismanagement to sell to the population that the State cared about them and did everything possible to save them,” said the study, presented Friday.
The investigation, carried out by the Observatory for Transparency and Anticorruption, pointed out that in the country there are an estimated between 6,000 and 9,000 deaths from covid-19 that are not recognized by the authorities because they were attributed to other causes to reduce the statistics of the pandemic.
The calculation of these deaths was based on excess mortality studies carried out in the country by the Multidisciplinary Scientific Committee, the COVID-19 Citizen Observatory, the Nicaraguan Foundation for Economic and Social Development (Funides), CONFIDENTIAL and also in official statistics from neighboring countries. In these, the official mortality statistics, the historical trend of deaths were analyzed and also compared with the figures of other neighboring countries.
They also noted that “the official statistics are scarce, confusing and questioned by the medical community and by the Pan American Health Organization ”, and that “public data do not allow knowing the most affected groups or the impact on health personnel ”.
The deaths of the Minsa
Likewise, the researchers point out that the number of 211 deaths, registered up to November 23, is statistically unlikely and is 28 times lower than that of the Citizen Observatory.
“These data from the Citizen Observatory are 1.7 times more suspected cases and 28 times more deaths than those reported by the Minsa, whose figure is very low, there is probably an under-registration“said the researcher in charge of the exhibition, who recalled that it is unlikely that exactly one citizen has died in Nicaragua every week since October 2020.
However, the data from the Citizen Observatory also reveal an underreporting in the number of infections, which is why the fatality (deaths in relation to the number of positive cases) of covid-19 in this group is so high: 19%, 9.5 times greater than the world percentage of 2%, which is explained because in the count of said Observatory not all asymptomatic and mild cases are reported, since the only one that has the capacity to register them through tests is the Minsa.
The researchers also highlight that “While in the rest of the Central American countries between six and eleven people die every week for every 10,000 inhabitants, in Nicaragua no one would die”, based on official statistics.
To this he added the little access that exists in Nicaragua to carry out PCR tests, which are managed exclusively by the Ministry of Health and are only available at a cost of 150 dollars for those who travel outside the country, medical personnel and seriously ill patients. As a result, Nicaragua reflects the least amount of infections in Central America, according to official figures.
The researcher insisted that this reflected the “opacity“ of the data on covid-19, since while in neighboring countries between 956 and 111 PCR tests are carried out per 1000 inhabitants, at the local level the average is “zero“.
“The COVID-19 crisis showed the structural weaknesses of the Nicaraguan health system, but also of the ruling political regime characterized by its authority, secrecy and serious human rights violations that have caused a serious humanitarian crisis, one of the most notable in the region“, he pointed out.
The study also analyzed the budget execution that the Ortega government has made during 2021 and the loans acquired to respond to the pandemic, which amount to more than 185.4 million dollars. In these, a low level of execution predominates, despite the fact that the country experienced a strong wave of contagion and deaths and lagged behind in vaccination coverage during the first ten months of this year.
“The covid budget for 2021 is 5014.7 million cordobas, which is equivalent to 1.0% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and in September only 1029.0 million cordobas have been used,” they explained.
Likewise, they highlight that one of the few investments mentioned by the Minsa during this year is the improvement in the cold chain, with which deep-frozen vaccines can now be stored, such as Pfizer. However, there is no detailed information on the funds they used in this investment.
The investigation also questioned why, having funds during the first semester of 2021, Nicaragua depended almost entirely on donations of vaccines and why the only purchases that have been made are from Cuba and Russia, which offer vaccines not authorized by the Organization. World Health Organization (WHO). Likewise, they highlight that the country has carried out an opaque management even in the vaccination data against covid-19.
“Statistics on vaccination are not consistent, nor are they shared in real time. According to PAHO data, Nicaragua went from having 7% of its population fully vaccinated until November 5, 2021, to increasing to 32% in the report released on November 22. This represents a jump of 250% ”, they explain.
* With information from EFE