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Covid-19 is here to stay, says Pan Am Health official; Cuenca deaths are ‘minimal’

Pan American Health Organization advisor and Quito epidemiologist Catalina Yépez says that the Covid-19 virus is probably here to stay. “When an approved vaccine is widely available, there will be a drop in cases but this could be a year or two,” she says. “Even then, estimates are that less than 40 percent of the population – possible as little as 30 percent — will be inoculated so cases will continue to be reported.”

Experts say that Covid-19 will become more manageable as more data becomes available.

Although Yépez says Covid is much more dangerous, she suggests its spread may be similar to that of common strains of the flu. “I think we must plan for the long-term and be realistic in what we face. In Ecuador, only about 25 percent of the population gets flu shots each year and it is important to remember that those vaccines are only 60 percent effective.”

Yépez says that Covid “is not synonymous with death” and should not create panic that permanently disrupts people’s lives. “We must handle it but it cannot be allowed to destroy the social and economic fabric of our lives. We must adjust but an overreaction could be far worse than the disease itself,” She added: “Based on the latest information, the fatality rate of coronavirus is between .07 percent and 1.3 percent, with the death rate for the vast majority of the population being much lower.”

Cuenca infectious disease expert Paúl Maldonado agrees with Yépez and says the local death toll from Covid has been “minimal” since the outbreak began in March. “We have recorded 58 Covid deaths since March 1 and while this is regrettable it is important to understand it is only about one percent of the deaths recorded in the city in the past four months,” he said Sunday in a radio interview. “People are startled at the number of cases reported each day but Cuenca is a city of 700,000 and infections are inevitable. We must consider the overall picture and not focus on the numbers.”

Maldonado says there is a common misunderstanding about the pressure on hospitals reported in the media. “We hear that they are being overwhelmed and are about to collapse but the fact is that the public hospitals in Cuenca operate close to full capacity on a normal basis,” he says. “They serve most of southern Ecuador so they are always crowded and under pressure. And they are underfunded. About half of the intensive care patients in the hospitals have Covid but other patients are suffering other diseases or injuries.

He added: “It is also important to keep in mind that we have far fewer ICU units in Ecuador than more developed countries. In Cuenca, for example, there are about five percent as many intensive care beds as in a U.S. city of comparable population. This is due to a number of factors, including funding, a younger population as well as cultural norms against medical life extension for dying patients that is common in the U.S. and Europe.”

On Sunday, Ecuador’s national Emergency Operations Committee reported an increase of 423 new cases from Saturday, bringing the total since the beginning of the pandemic to 61,958. Total confirmed deaths increased by 13, to 4,781. Cases in Azuay Province increased to 1,935, with 1,686 of those being reported in Cuenca.

47 thoughts on “Covid-19 is here to stay, says Pan Am Health official; Cuenca deaths are ‘minimal’

  1. While the article may be “true” it encourages the decisions of whether mask wearing, hand washing, etc might be unnecessary, when it is most necessary to protect others.

    1. No Miriam By no means the article is suggesting to stop taking the precautions to prevent infections /// Just as we should never using seat belts because we have never been in a car accident / Its a well researched study and needs mass circulation //

      1. Right on!

        If one doesn’t use seat belts, one is a moron.

        If one uses cell phones while driving (distracted driving), one is a moron.

        If one fails to wear a mask in public, one is a moron.

            1. Medical experts? Pick your desired belief. There will be numerous ‘medical experts’ that will back you up. And an equal number of ‘medical experts’ who strongly, vehemently disagree.
              If there is one thing that has become clear with this C-19 fiasco/stunt, it’s that there is HUGE disagreement from very competent people about every issue.
              How will you know if your ‘medical expert’ is correct, or not?

              1. There are good reasons why some nations are having trouble with this virus and other nations are not. The most obvious is the use of masks, when they were implemented their mandate and the penalties for not following the procedures. You are right you can do what you want, I am not my brothers keeper. You alone will pay the fine and you alone will have your conscience to live with if you are asymptomatic and spread it to your family and friends. The other end of this is business, they are watching, and counting on you to help limit the spread of this virus, if they implemented tighter restrictions more businesses will suffer.
                Is it that difficult for you to follow, temporary, guidelines that will help save your surrounding businesses and possibly the lives of your friends and family?

                1. If you are done and satisfied with your virtue-signaling for today, maybe you can actually answer the question, “How will you know if your ‘medical expert’ is correct, or not?”

                  1. by comparing the numbers of one nation to the other and measuring those factors.

                    Japan 1/3 population of the US – 20K cases -369 deaths – no shutdown – Tokyo has 3xs the popluation of New York and is more crowded with people on top of each other. – Mathmatical variable – Masks for everyone.

                    USA -3.48 million cases. Death 138, 000 – FULLShutdown – less crowded. More space – one variable missing – Masks optional and 1/2 don’t wear it.

                    Simple math. The mask experiment can be done by any 10 year old kid. It helps. I listen to science from folks successful with the disease. So far mask wearing cultures have faired much better.

          1. Why does Japan have 20K cases and 350 deaths in a country 1/3 the size of the US in population crammed into an area the size of California? Tokyo itself is 3xs more populous and crowded than NYC. They didn’t close down like the US….only factor I can see is cleanliness and masks. Everyone wears masks without the government telling them. They just did it all on their own accord. Magic? IDK.

    2. “… when it is most necessary to protect others.”
      Wear a mask only when encountering other people, and only if you are actively infected, showing obvious symptoms. In which case you should be at home, fasting, resting, relaxing, staying well-hydrated.

      1. Sorry, P C, have got to call you on this. That businessinsider article was written by a medically poorly informed psychoanalyst for a pro business (obviously) magazine. Yes, it’s true that this virus is a big problem for business and the economy. Sad truth is that if we had buckled down and taken all the necessary precautions when the virus was initially discovered, the situations now, both health-wise and economic, would be entirely different. But we are where we are… in not very good shape, world-wide. Bottom line, many, even most, people with covid-19 may be asymptomatic, completely unaware that they can be spreading the virus. The mask wearing is primarily to minimize the risk THEY present in spreading the infection. Be charitable, will ya’? Let’s look out for each other. Best wishes.

  2. I feel the article was honest. I felt itis true at least 2 years before it is gone. And it will be back

  3. “Based on the latest information, the fatality rate of coronavirus is between .07 percent and 1.3 percent, with the death rate for the vast majority of the population being MUCH LOWER.”
    SO: With LOWER death rates and WEAKER strains, what’s the point of making the curfew at 7 instead of midnight?

    1. Maybe save a life!! Is there something wrong with that….People are losing the use of limbs and loss of some organ efficiency as an after effect of COVID. Should they do this to make a person named Penelope happy? I do not think so my dear friend!

      1. While I don’t disagree with your logic on a specific basis, since when did society curfew because of moderate risk of a virus or any other risk of any category? I don’t think “there is anything wrong” with saving a life, but why not make it optional then? that way people can be responsible for their own health and decisions like in every other area of life. Even Still, is there any evidence that curfews are even working? I’ve found the areas I am going out to now much less crowded than before. Supermaxi Don Bosco at the beginning (first 2 months of 2pm curfew) of this pandemic was so packed you couldn’t turn your cart around. Now, with a later curfew there is barely anybody in there…. Granted that could also be because everybody is now out of money or shopping at open air markets to save too.

    2. Statistically if you put one foot in 80 degree water and the other in 180 degree water you should be ok. Watch out for percentages this and that, if you catch the virus none of that means anything.

    3. Not true the latest data show the rate is between 2.6% and 6.5% death rate, now this is constantly falling, we are getting better at treating it. There is no accurate data on asymptomatic cases and anyone that says otherwise is lying to you (If you have a source I would be happy to look at it). It’s this number that is the most important. Testing is the key to finding that number, whole populations will need to be tested and the asymptomatic numbers can be more accurately predicted. Until then don’t believe those lowered numbers, as attractive as they are. You can always do the calculations for yourself. I am personally estimating the asymptomatic rate at 80% in the high end and 50% at the low end, I’m doubling the numbers of recovered to account for the lag in reporting… to come up with a death rate, Johns Hopkins and Worldometers are cross referenced to ensure there are no big discrepancies.. the rate I’m coming up with is 4.6% when averaged, the latest John Hopkins rate is 4.5% so I’m in the same range…

      1. It’s been changed to 11pm, the mayor wants to bring it back to 9pm, the icu beds are full… I would personally love to see it stay at 11pm… keep wearing masks and following guidelines to help keep it here…

    4. It’s not about protecting or saving people. Numerous other reasons, if you care to look.

  4. Dra. Yepez suggests that the spread of Covid-19 is similar to that of common strains of the flu. No, it’s much more contagious. After that, do you believe anything else she says? There are still too many unknowns in this pandemic to accurately predict a future. I’m waiting a week or two to see what all the 4th of July celebrations did to the infection rate here in the US. Let’s hope that it’s not significant and prove that we can control the outbreak with individual responsibility.
    Do Ecuadorians have enough individual responsibility to practice social distancing without govt. restrictions?

  5. First article I have read that makes total sense. I hope this article will assuage the fear of many posters. I do however, disagree with the draconian measures of wearing a mask and social distancing when the ones to wear the masks, etc should be the elderly, sickly persons on medications and with chronic medical conditions. The posters are still asleep and not aware that this is all about CONTROL.

    1. you should tell that to the 41 year old Broadway actor that fought Covid for 90 days , lost limbs and needed a double lung transplant … oops … too late. he died yesterday. as soon as you say it makes sense to you then I know something is total crap. why should elderly use a mask if they don’t work ? every one should wear one when out in public and people are near … some protection is better than none … in both directions.and you call yourself a doctor ? no thanks

  6. You people are all over the place on this subject. First, Ecuador is a developing nation and is ill equipped to deal with this pandemic. Wearing the mask in public protects you against others, and others against you. Don’t complicate matters. Wear the damn mask!

  7. There will be a vaccine around Christmas time. Distribution of the vaccine will be worldwide. Don’t forget where you read it.

    1. There are huge manufacturing challenges in place, and it will take a good deal of time to roll out. Ecuador is going to be down the list, well beyond the countries that developed it, and the other rich and powerful countries who will be demanding their share.

    2. Do you know anything about the type of vax being developed? It’s likely going to be a genetic-based vax, a type of vax never used on humans before. The potential horrific primary and side effects of it are unknown, both short and long term. Don’t be a fool and expect this new vax to be some sort of savior.

      1. A vaccine isn’t created overnight. There are thousands of people tested to cover all the basis, over an extended period of time, BEFORE an approval is given to distribute to the public. So, you throw your question out to the readers here, without knowing anything about vaccine research.

    3. I wouldn’t wait for a vaccine if I got the Wuhan Virus. Hydroxychloroquine is the first treatment I would demand. MSM and drug companies are discounting it — no profit in it.

      1. President Trump, the noted epidemiologist and scientist, is the first person I look to when I need medical advice. If he says take Hydroxychloroquine for Covid19, then it must be beneficial. He would never say anything that was not true.
        By the way, there is little evidence that hydroxychloroquine is an effective treatment of COVID-19. The Food and Drug Administration has warned people not to use the drug outside of supervised hospital settings because of its potential to cause heart, liver and kidney problems.

        1. Look at what it did for him, stable genius and all, every one with a double wide lot in the trailer park knows that..
          no all joking aside, the south is a mess and it’s directly due to this, BS there is no preventative measures that work other than a mask and social distancing, it’s not a political statement, it’s a health issue… wearing a mask will protect you and the community…

  8. The number of deaths and cases listed here show a fatality rate of 7.71%. 4782/61958=rate. Does not match the quoted figure from Yépez.

    1. I found a lot of sites that aren’t accounting for the recovered cases count being behind, it’s just not going to be a priority to test someone that’s not in a serious risk of death. Also, the percentage of asymptomatic has a huge effect on the rate. There simply isn’t a solid number that can be plugged into the formula… testing testing testing…

      1. But a difference of the quoted rate range of .07%-1.3% compared to what their numbers suggest—7.71! Not even the same league, much less the same ball park!

        1. That’s not right, it’s more like 4.5%, there is no good data for asymptomatic, if you go to worlrdometers and Johns Hopkins you can see the numbers, I’m useing the data from Italy and Germany to estimate the asymptomatic cases but it is erratic, between 50-80% asymptomatic, if you do the math using those numbers and averaging it I come up with 4.6% Johns Hopkins has a 4.5% rate… it’s still just an estimate…. and the doctors are getting better every day at reducing deaths… I’m personally hoping to see a vaccine in the new year… if your good at math you can do the calculations for yourself… let me know what numbers you get… I’ll give you the formulas I’m using if it helps..

  9. When they say “LESS THAN 40% will be inoculated”, is that because people can’t afford the vaccine or because they don’t want to take it?

  10. I agree. So why is the world in such a panic? There are other diseases that are much more dangerous and the world has been living with them for ages. After all, life leads to death.

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