The controversy was ignited this Thursday with an article published by the magazine ‘Bloomberg’, which shows that Colombia currently has the fourth highest number of cases in Latin America and that on a per capita basis the death figures of the country in recent weeks they are the worst in the world, with 43.1 deaths per million people.
The note, based on data from Johns Hopkins University and calculations by Bloomberg, is published as the escalation of cases and deaths in recent weeks has led the country’s two main cities, Bogotá and Medellín, to reimpose targeted quarantines.
The magazine quotes the epidemiologist Carlos Trillos, a professor at the Universidad del Rosario, who points out that contributing to the increase is “the dynamics of virus transmission, given the growing number of people on the streets” and adds that also “there is fatigue after the long periods of restrictive measures ”.
It also notes that more cases are being diagnosed, and the tests amount to about 30,000 tests per day.
In Bogotá, the isolation by locality is scheduled to end this week, although some measures of social distancing will be maintained for the rest of the month. Mayor Claudia López said that the capital will not return to quarantines by zones and that she is analyzing a package of measures that will be adopted between September and December. Restrictions will be imposed on companies, but they will be more stable so that different sectors of the economy know what to expect, she told ‘Noticias Caracol’ last Monday.
Meanwhile, the second largest city in the country, Medellín, is on a “plateau” and will likely remain there for three more weeks before the number of infections begins to decline, Mayor Daniel Quintero told ‘Blu Radio’.
To date, Colombia has registered 433,805 infected, 14,145 deaths and 250,494 recovered, according to figures from the Ministry of Health.
In response, the Minister of Health, Fernando Ruiz, said this Thursday in a debate in the Seventh Committee of the House of Representatives that it was “disinformation.”
“Here we are facing both the pandemic and misinformation, in the face of even false news that speak that Colombia’s level is one of the highest in the world but without considering the size of the Colombian population or those news that the RT (number of effective reproduction) of Colombia is the highest in the world, it is news that does not really contribute ”, criticized the official.
In turn, the infectologist Carlos Álvarez, advisor to the Executive, told EL HERALDO that the magazine’s report is not real.
“It seems to me that the ‘Bloomberg’ statement is not given in the light of reality, because one cannot evaluate mortality in a week and compare it with other countries depending on the historical moment. In other words, the moment of the peak of the pandemic is different from what is happening at this moment in Colombia, in Peru, in Mexico or Brazil itself, to what is happening in other parts of the world or what happened, such as the The deadliest week in Italy could have been the first of April or the last of March ”, explained the expert.
In summary, Álvarez added, “to be able to compare or make this approximation, the epidemic would have to be present at the same time throughout the world and that does not happen that way.”
In this sense, he concludes that to evaluate how the epidemic has been in the different countries “the best way is to evaluate the accumulated number of deaths per million inhabitants, because that is how it really shows how this behavior has been, and that, because some countries have not yet started the epidemic peak ”.
In other parts of Latin America, for example, after Brazil surpassed 3 million coronavirus infections last Friday, President Jair Bolsonaro took to social media to criticize how the crisis is covered in the media, while arguing against social distancing measures.
The president wrote on Twitter that “there is no shortage of resources, equipment and medicines for the states and municipalities.” And Argentina is considering postponing its population census by more than a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.
Likewise, in Bolivia, anti-government protesters have built barricades to counter the delay in general elections and the response to the pandemic.
Finally, Mexico will release industrial production figures for June on Tuesday, which should add evidence that activity is recovering after a sharp drop in the previous months, but remains well below its pre-outbreak level.