Coronavirus: Ecuadorians Plead for Help, “They’re Leaving us to Die”

  • In Ecuador, with medical units completely wiped out, the health problem is worsening day after day.
  • "The authorities are just leaving us to die."
  • In one video that has gone viral, Gabriela Orellana, is begging the government to remove her late husband’s corpse from her house.

Ecuador has been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the number of cases and deaths multiplying. Lack of response from government authorities is creating despair among the population, which is now accusing the government of letting its citizens die without any form of assistance.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), also known as 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD), and novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP) is a viral respiratory disease caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). It was first detected during the 2019–20 Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.

With the world experiencing an unprecedented pandemic, the responses of different states are becoming a little different everywhere. But in Ecuador, with medical units completely wiped out, the health problem is worsening day after day. Without a proper medical response, many citizens have lost family members who have died of the disease while at home.

The bodies pile up in the streets and in the houses, and sometimes days go by without being removed from the place where they breathed their last. This creates increased misery, of course, but also increased health problems. “The authorities are just leaving us to die,” said Eduardo Javier Barrezueta Chavez, a 33-year old man who saw his father, 57, die three days ago at home, without medical help. Eduardo has spent the last 72 hours pleading with the authorities to remove his father’s corpse, so far to no avail.

Coronaviruses are species of virus belonging to the subfamily Coronavirinae in the family Coronaviridae, in the order Nidovirales. There are seven known strains of human coronaviruses, including COVID-19.

After five days of experiencing mild symptoms, Eduardo took his father to a local hospital. After an X-ray of the lungs, the diagnosis was confirmed: pneumonia. However, with the capacity of the hospital reached, the recommendation was that both move to their homes, with Eduardo having to administer paracetamol to his father. He died a few days later, without being able to fight on his own means, against the disease.

With temperatures sometimes exceeding 30°, many bodies can be seen in videos and photos shared on social networks, abandoned or with family members having to live closely with loved ones who have already lost their lives. In one video that has gone viral, Gabriela Orellana, a sad woman with evident tears in her eyes, is begging the government to remove her late husband’s corpse from her house.

For days, she was quarantined as her husband’s body lay upstairs, she said. Government officials cheated her that they were coming to remove the decomposing body therein. “If you see this video, Mr. President, please, where are they,” she asked. “They told me they were coming, and it was a lie,” Orellana sobbed into a purple face mask. “I’m only asking for you to help him die with dignity. Please. Don’t leave him here, thrown on the ground.”

Grisly tales like hers this week underscore how the port city of more than 2 million people is struggling to handle the mounting devastation of the coronavirus pandemic. Fernando Jiménez, an owner of a funeral home, recently closed the facility because the cemeteries no longer provide space for so many bodies that need to be buried. “There was so much emergency demand that we couldn’t cope,” he said. “The situation is really out of control.”

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Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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