New Covid variants are more lethal and contagious; IESS on the edge of the ‘abyss’; Border war revisited; Final lockdown ends; Vaccine program continues
Hola, Todos –
Otras cosas –
Titular – Temporal causa destrozos (Season causes destruction) – See Monday’s CHL article for story. <If I knew how, I’d post a video from el noche de sábado when the river jumped the bend at one end of the Tarqui-Guzho megapark and the water was flowing over the park in two directions at the same time.>
Las nuevas variantes: más letales y contagiosas (The new variants: more lethal and contagious) – Since the beginning of the pandemic, 40 variants of the Covid virus have been reported. 3 of these, from the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa, are worrisome since they’re more contagious and resistant to medication. In Ecuador, cases of the UK variant have been found in Guayaquil and Zamora, the New York variant in Cuenca, and the Brazilian variant in Loja, Guayaquil and Quito. The Andean variant from Perú and Chile are in othere localities. The variants affect all social groups including the young and the elderly with current vaccines developed for the original strain less effective on the new strains.
Medical professionals are recommending continuing the use of preventive measures including double masking. Bernardo Vega, former dean of the U. of Cuenca Medical School, said that citizens were more observant last year with over 95% wearing masks as opposed to 82% this year, and 92% observing social distancing compared with 75% this year. He also pointed out that young people are catching and dying from Covid.
Socializan problemas de límites (They socialize boundary problems) – The prefect of Azuay, Cecilia Méndez met with provincial asambleístas (assembly members – your word for the day and one I’ll be using instead of assemblymen, assemblywomen or assembly members) to inform them about the process of defending the borders of Azuay against Guayas. The history of the conflict was provided and how the inhabitants, mainly in the communities of Molleturo parish in Cuenca, will be affected.
The “friendly” agreement signed in 2015 between the then prefects of Azuay and Guayas, Paúl Carrasco and Jimmy Jairala, was criticized since the inhabitants of the border zones were not consulted. <If I remember correctly, the inhabitants made their wishes known, one way or the other, including physical conflict. One side brought a backhoe to the fight. I think the other side had brought stuff to make a barricade and things might have been thrown including punches and other objects. No shooting, though.> The Provincial GAD has a team of professionals who are working on alternatives to leave the agreement ineffective. The legislators promised to talk to the appropriate Government ministers to look for solutions to defend the provincial borders.
Proceso de vacunación (Vaccination process) – The vaccination process for seniors, the disabled, and people with catastrophic illnesses in Cuenca is proceding according to schedule at 7 vaccination locations. Yesterday, the process finished at the Centro de Atención de Adulto Mayor of the IESS since there were no scheduled appointments. Nationally, a little more than 1 million citizens have been vaccinated with Pfizer, Sinovac and AstraZeneca, or 2% of the population. <The math doesn’t make sense – either Ecuador has 50 million people or about 350,000 people have been vaccinated.> This is a low number <my guess is 350,000 vaccinations>, and given the slowness of the vaccinations, the pandemic could last for at least another year. <Get used to that or those mask(s) since it looks like you’ll be in them for a while.>
Hoy termina el confinamiento de los fines de semana (Weekend confinements end today) – 16 of the 24 provinces ended the total weekend confinements at 5 am Monday morning. In spite of the lockdown, authorities have had to close down clandestine parties so as to avoid aglomeraciones (crowds). Last miércoles, Juan Zapata, the president of the National COE, reported that the waiting lists and demand for hospital beds for Covid patients was reduced, but that we should not “bajar la guardia” (lower our guard).
Las causas que tienen al IESS al “borde del abismo” (The causes that have the IESS on the “edge of the abyss”) – The Asociación de Afiliados, Jubilados y Pensionistas (Association of Members, Retirees and Pensioners) of the IESS attributes the current crisis to 2 causes. Henry Llanes, VP of the association said the first is the state delinquency which started in 1951 and has continued with a labyrinth of debt consolidation, forming of commissions, and signing agreements between the Ministry of Finance and the IESS about the 40% contribution to pay pensions and medical.
The second cause is the use of obligatory social security to provide health benefits to people who are not affiliated with IESS. He believes it is not correct to administer an obligatory social security system under the Ley de Seguridad Social. It has created “un verdadero frankenstein” with a series of band-aid reforms without actuarial studies and due financing. He emphasized there should be a reform of the law starting with a comprehensive re-engineering of the legal, administrative, financial, and heath management aspects of the institution.
And that’s all for today so hasta ? –
Editor’s note: Jeanne’s Periodico is a translated digest of news from the Cuenca daily newspaper El Mercurio. If details, such as event dates and times, do not appear in the translation, they did not appear in the newspaper (please don’t ask her for them). The text between the carrots, or guillemets (< … >), is Jeanne’s personal opinion and not part of the news translation.