Panama raises its number of infections by COVID-19 to 206,310, after registering 3,015 new cases of the virus at the national level, as reported by the Ministry of Health (Minsa).
According to the epidemiological report of this Friday, December 18, 23 new deaths are reported, of which 20 correspond to the last 24 hours and 3 are from previous dates, which increases the deaths to 3,504 due to coronavirus in the country. The case fatality of the virus is 1.7%.
The report adds that 170,170 patients have recovered.
To date, 16,263 tests were applied, for a percentage of positivity of 18.5%.
Active patients total 32,636, in home isolation 30,964 people are reported, of which 30,269 are at home and 695 in hotels. There are 1,672 hospitalized and 1,490 of them are in the ward and 182 in the ICU.
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.