The RT or effective reproductive index of COVID-19 cases in Panama decreased to 0.88, according to the Ministry of Health (Minsa).
Last week, the RT was at 1.10; and the one before that at 1.00.
The authorities explained that the reproductive index fell due to the fact that the speed of contagion decreased, however, cases continue to increase, so it is important to maintain prevention measures.
According to the Ministry of Health, the areas with the highest incidence from December 20 to January 2 are Herrera, Panama Oeste, the Panama region and San Miguelito.
With regard to deaths, they indicated that the case fatality rate is now 1.6%.
Regarding tests applied to detect COVID-19, it has exceeded 31,677 per day and a positivity of 28.8% has been maintained.
In the last 24 hours, 3,540 new cases and 41 new deaths were registered, bringing the total number of infections to 259,770 and deaths to 4,238.
Some observers have argued that the Minsa reported case fatality rate (number of COVID linked deaths / number of known cases) in reality should be much lower, as the number of reported cases does not necessarily reflect the truth, as the testing does not cover the whole population, and many cases go undetected. At the same time, the government can't report what they don't know, but readers should note that the numbers may tell a different story from the reality.
Also, the method used in Panama to define how a 'COVID death' is counted is also unclear, as many of the deaths correspond to underlying previous conditions, such as cancer, blood diseases, other age related diseases etc., and are reported as COVID deaths since the patient also had the coronavirus. On the other hand, many viruses are known to lower the patient's immunity and expose them to other diseases. As an example most HIV/AIDS patients don't die from the virus itself, but from other derived diseases such as pneumonia or regular flu.
There have also been reports on the inaccuracy of the PCR test, which would compromise the figures mentioned above.
In lack of better information sources, PanaTimes continues to publish reports with the government (Minsa) announced figures. Readers are adviced to use their own judgement. We are happy to publish more accurate reports, if they become available to us or our contributors.