The epidemiological report for this Tuesday, December 29, highlights that some 4,574 new cases of COVID-19 have been registered in Panama, bringing the accumulated infections to 238,279.
The Ministry of Health (Minsa) also details that in the last 24 hours there have been some 41 new deaths, increasing to 3,933 deaths from this new coronavirus in the country. The case fatality rate of the virus is 1.7%.
So far some 189,764 people have recovered from this virus and active cases have risen to 44,582.
From this last figure it stands out that there are 41,769 people confined to their homes, while another 694 are staying in hospital hotels.
While in hospital wards there are 1,939 confined patients and 180 remain in intensive care units.
In the last hours in the country, some 15,991 new tests have been carried out to detect COVID-19, which have yielded a positivity rate of 28.6%.
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.