The epidemiological report of this Sunday, December 20, revealed that in the last 24 hours Panama presented some 2,755 new cases of COVID-19 , which brings the accumulated number of infections in the country to 212,339.
In addition, the Ministry of Health (Minsa) reported that deaths from this type of coronavirus increased to 3,566, after registering 39 deaths in the last hours.
The number of recovered in Panama is 173,508, while active cases continue to rise and on this day are 35,265.
On this last figure, it is broken down that there are 32,705 people confined at home, while 746 people have been housed in hospital hotels.
There are 1,622 COVID-19 patients in hospital wards, and 192 have been confined to intensive care units (ICU).
Panama has applied some 13,830 new tests in the last 24 hours which have presented a positivity of 19.9%.
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 highly compromise any figures mentioned above.
In lack of better information sources, PanaTimes continues to report the government (Minsa) announced figures. Readers are adviced to use their own judgement.