The Ministry of Health ( Minsa ) reported that 3,059 new coronavirus infections were registered in Panama for this Wednesday, December 23, which brings the accumulated number of cases in the country to 220,261.
Also for today there are a total of 3,664 deaths due to COVID-19 , with 32 new deaths and a fatality rate that remains at 1.7%.
To date, some 178,140 recovered people are reported, while 38,457 cases remain active.
The epidemiological report indicates that of the active cases, a total of 35,869 remain in isolation at home and 720 are in hospital hotels.
On the other hand, it indicates that 1,686 patients are hospitalized in ward and 182 patients are in intensive care units.
The Minsa adds that in the last 24 hours, 14,239 new tests have been carried out to detect COVID-19, maintaining a positivity of 21.4%.
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.