Sudden deaths in streets, immediate burial orders alarm Nicaraguans

Managua, May 7 (efe-epa).- Immediate burial orders, a ban on wakes, police and officials attending funerals and sudden deaths in the streets have alarmed people in Nicaragua, where the authorities only recognize 16 COVID-19 cases and five deaths.

In the department of Rivas, southern Nicaragua, two men from the most vulnerable population died suddenly in the last three days, which is unusual in the Central American country in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

The first was an 85-year-old man who died at a bank while queuing to collect his pension, and the second was another man, 68, who died suddenly while riding a motorcycle.

In the department of Chinandega, in the northwest of Nicaragua, the so-called COVID-19 Citizen’s Observatory has verified the death of at least 16 people between Mar. 14 and May 4, 10 of them in the past week.

“Of the 10 deaths verified and that occurred in the last five days, two had a heart attack diagnosis, without a link to COVID-19. The remaining eight are deaths in suspicious circumstances in which the sources indicate a link with COVID-19,” the Observatory said in a report.

According to the Observatory, which independently locates cases of COVID-19, for these deaths the authorities gave immediate burial orders, a wake ban, or the funerals were attended by police and/or officials from the Ministry of Health.

Chinandega residents have expressed their alarm and fear that it is an outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus causing the COVID-19 infectious disease.

Given the increase in deaths in the province, the authorities should rule out the presence of COVID-19 in these people, or implement control actions in the case of a positive diagnosis, and keep citizens informed so that they can responsibly implement self-protection measures, the Observatory said. However, the Nicaraguan authorities still do not provide information about dozens of incidents in the streets, some of whom have died and others who have been transferred to medical centers, without their state of health being known.

The Multidisciplinary Scientific Committee, made up of doctors and other specialists, has warned that sudden collapsing, even if it is due to heart failure, could be related to the coronavirus.

Doctor Freddy Blandón did not rule out the possibility that some have died from COVID-19, based on recent studies showing that SARS-coV-2 not only attacks the lungs, but other organs, so people can die from cardiac arrest or stroke.

The specialist told EFE that, although March, April and the beginning of May are the months with the highest incidence of cardiac arrests in Nicaragua, sudden deaths on the streets are not common.

According to a report by the Ministry of Health, between Mar. 11, when the pandemic was declared, until Apr. 30, 2,829 people had died from other diseases and only four from COVID-19 (there are now officially five).

“That (number of deaths, an average of 55.5 per day) is a monstrosity. A lot of deaths… but of course we do not see that right now because we are all (on alert for) this coronavirus,” said President Daniel Ortega Thursday when he presented the report.

Neither Ortega nor the Ministry of Health have ruled on the collapses and sudden deaths.

The deputy director of the Pan American Health Organization, Jarbas Barbosa da Silva, has said that they cannot “make an evaluation” of the epidemic in Nicaragua, where “the situation is still undetermined,” that is, there is no data at the moment.

The Ortega government, which continues to minimize the coronavirus crisis and with which it responded with a march called “Love in the Times of COVID-19,” has declared itself against the Stay at Home campaign.

According to Ortega, confinement would destroy the Nicaraguan economy, which has contracted in the last two years and which is mostly informal, so his government, according to what he has said, will maintain “normal activities,” keeping the recommendations of the health authorities. EFE-EPA


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