With the January 18 report of 1,342 new cases of COVID-19 detected in the last 24 hours, Panama reaches 299,361 accumulated infections.
The epidemiological report of the Ministry of Health (Minsa) also indicates that in the last hours 37 new deaths were registered and 4 deaths were updated, which bring the number of deaths from coronavirus in the country to 4,828.
The case fatality of the virus is 1.6%.
The number of recovered amounts to 241,128, while in the country there are 53,405 active cases.
From this registry, it appears that 50,015 people are confined to their homes and another 764 have stayed in hospital hotels after being infected with the virus.
In addition, 2,387 patients have been confined in hospital wards and 239 remain in intensive care units.
In the last hours, 7,703 new tests were carried out showing an effectiveness of 17-4%.
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.