Amid the coronavirus crisis that has shaken the whole world, Nicaragua only reported 25 confirmed cases and eight deaths caused bu COVID-19. However, these numbers are now in question as families of victims alongside the opposition claim that President Daniel Ortega ordered to speed up burials in order to hide the true severity of the outbreak in the country.
With doctors warning of chaos caused by a coronavirus in the country, experts and human rights group speculate that the number of cases and deaths are far higher than what is being projected.
According to the World Socialist Web Site, reports from several medical workers and Nicaraguans have surfaced in the past few days regarding the government's effort to cover-up the country's real situation. Moreover, the news outlet stated that government officials have threatened people not to reveal any information which would unveil the true extent of the outbreak.
While the whole world was quick to impose restrictions, guidelines, and lockdowns, there have been no significant measures taken by the Ortega administration in order to control the spread of the virus.
Unlike other countries within the Latin American region, Nicaragua has not taken any steps to control mass gatherings and other activities. Schools in the country have remained open, there have been no efforts to sanitize public areas, tourism has continued and non-essential industries have continued to operate in the country.
In contrast with the numbers that Ortega's government reported, the Citizen's Observatory COVID-19 said that upon compiling the reports that medical workers have submitted, the coronavirus disease ahs already invaded 50 out of 153 municipalities in Nicaragua. Out of this, they have already tallied at least 1,033 suspected cases and 188 deaths caused by COVID as of the 9th of May.
Moreover, doctors from the country have claimed that their healthcare system is on the verge of collapse as hospital beds which were intended for COVID-19 patients are already full. According to respiratory specialist Jorge Miranda, many of their cases are diagnosed as atypical pneumonia, which is suspectedly related to COVID-19 as winter hasn't begun yet.
On top of this, healthcare workers and their families have also said that they reported infections, however, they were not included in the official tally.
In one instance, a radiologist stated that her mother who tested positive for COVID-19 was only reported as another case of atypical pneumonia. When her mother died, she was buried without any of her family members.
In connection to this, several reports in the past week has stated that over a dozen burials were done in the country under coronavirus protocol which contradicts the number of deaths that the country has projected. There were even claims that the burials were usually done at night to avoid the public eye.
In response to the speculations and allegations, the country's Vice President Rosario Murillo ho also happens to be Ortega's wife said that people who claim that the outbreak is more severe than what is projected have deformed brains and are only spreading fear and have based on fake news.