- The number of Covid-19 cases is significantly lower (16 cases) with only 5 deaths in total, compared to 1.29 million cases and 76,513 deaths in the United States till date.
- These numbers clearly explain why the two countries do not need to take the same measures.
- After learning about the first infection, the Nicaraguan government sent members on house to house visits to offer prevention advice and information on the coronavirus.
The situation in Nicaragua and the measures implemented to date against the Covid-19 are very different from the US ones. The Central American country did not announce its first case of coronavirus until March 18. But the government had already been widely questioned for contradicting international health recommendations to avoid crowds by calling a citizen march called “Love in times of Covid-19” a few days before.
Here are the up-to-date stats on Covid-19 in Nicaragua according to Google, Wikipedia, and Johns Hopkins University as of May 6.
Why Nicaragua doesn’t Take More Drastic Measures?
Nicaragua rules out restricting the entry of travelers. Minister of Health, Carolina Davila, made only “a call” to those who come from countries with cases of coronavirus to remain “in social distancing for 14 days.”
As for the curfews and quarantines adopted by other countries, both governments rule out that it is time to make them mandatory.
According to the country officials, restriction of mobility can be a public health measure, but it should not be used as a first tool, this is an extreme tool that is reserved for hypothetical situations where control capacity is lost. We are far from it.
Moreover, the number of Covid-19 cases is significantly lower (16 cases) with only 5 deaths in total, compared to 1.29 million cases and 76,513 deaths in the United States to date. These numbers clearly explain why the two countries do not need to take the same measures.
Are Their Strategies Effective?
Although performing diagnostic tests is one of the World Health Organization’s main recommendations, this is no public data for Nicaragua.
Even with the enormous doubt that thousands of positive cases could not be diagnosed, the truth is that, based on official figures, not having adopted these more drastic measures does not seem to have affected both countries so far.
Nicaragua, which was one of the last countries in the region to officially report cases – two confirmed cases and one deceased – actually shows figures much lower than those of its neighboring countries in Central America.
Leonel Arguello, co-founder of the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health in the 1980s, says that “sooner or later, reality will prevail here and will lead you to do what other countries have done.”
“As much as we all pray, the epidemic will not stop,” criticizes the also former National Director of Epidemiology of the Central American country. The goal of these measures is to avoid physical approach. “Although of course there are ways to circumvent these measures – I would say that they are 99% effective,” says the Director of the Center for Research and Health Studies of the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua.
At another front, Russia, China, and Cuba are standing in solidarity and support with Nicaragua during the tough times of this global pandemic.
Are Emergency Measures Necessary?
According to the US sources, the government, despite warnings from WHO, has not taken any preventive measures to avoid contagion. However, the situation is entirely different when seen from the Nicaraguan perspective. Rosario Murillo announced in March that Ministry of Health officials would make house-to-house visits to “report” about the Covid-19. According to Murillo, they have visited more than 700,000 families across the country.
“No health system in the world nor the best have been able to bear the burden of the Covid-19. To think that in Nicaragua we have it under control is an illusion and if we do not start planning on how we are going to manage this disaster, there may be a greater chaos, which will bring more damage to the Nicaraguan family,” says epidemiologist Leonel Arguello, from the Multidisciplinary Scientific Committee.
The only evidence for now, says Arguello, is that social distancing and staying home works.
In the case of Nicaragua, a series of additional risk factors are added to the health crisis that developed countries do not have, says the epidemiologist.