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WHO report: Covid deaths vastly underreported in Nicaragua

A global study of excess mortality shows that in Nicaragua there were 55 times more deaths from the coronavirus than those admitted by the regime

A global study of excess mortality shows that in Nicaragua there were 55 times more deaths from the coronavirus than those admitted by the regime

Redacción Confidencial

10 de mayo 2022


In Nicaragua, between 12,095 and 16,517 citizens died from the pandemic during 2020 and 2021, according to a global study of excess mortality attributable to Covid-19, published May 5th by the World Health Organization (WHO). According to the document, there were 55 times more deaths in the country due to the coronavirus than those admitted by the Government of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, which up to December 31, 2021, counted only 218 deaths due to Covid-19.

This WHO estimate confirms an analysis of excess mortality published by Confidencial last March, which put the number of deaths attributable to Covid-19 at 14,815 in the same period taken by WHO. Confidencial’s data is based on the Health Map of the Ministry of Health (MINSA).

The WHO study concludes that of the minimum number of deaths attributed to Covid-19 (12,095), 54.8% were men and 45.1% were women. Of these, 86.7% were persons over 60 years of age, the population group more vulnerable to Covid-19.

Excess mortality in Central America

The data also reveals that, of the Central American region, Nicaragua is the country with the greatest difference between reported and estimated deaths due to excess mortality: 55 times.

The second country with a largest difference with its official figures, but not comparable with Nicaraguan records, is El Salvador. In this nation there were 4.5 times more deaths than the official ones. That is, from 3,824 reported deaths to 17,036.

Meanwhile, in Guatemala, which has the highest number of deaths in Central America, there have reportedly been three times more than the 16,107 recognized by 2021. The countries with the least difference between their official statistics and excess mortality are Costa Rica, Panamá and Belize.

Since 2020, the studies of excess mortality in Nicaragua have shown considerable contrast with the murky figures of the Ortega Government, which since the first weeks of the pandemic —in March 2020—hides the number of hospitalized, the real number of infected people, the impact of the variants, Covid-19 testing, among other data, which have not allowed the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) to make an “exhaustive evaluation” on the impact of coronavirus in the country.

MINSA assures that, since October 2020, only one person per week has died in the whole country. This statistically improbable figure did not change even when the country suffered the second wave during August and September 2021, which, according to the same official data, caused more infections than the first, which occurred between May and July of the previous year.

In January, an analysis of excess mortality analysis by the data unit of the British media outlet The Economist, estimated that between 10,000 and 30,000 people died in Nicaragua, a figure 137 times higher than the 218 deaths officially acknowledged until 2021. In spite of these studies, the regime has never spoken about it and rather launched a new wave of threats against doctors who made assessments on the pandemic, whom it called “pandemic terrorists.”

The world has lost 14.9 million lives to Covid-19

The WHO study estimates that globally there were 14.9 million deaths from Covid-19, 2.7 million more than officially reported as of December 2021. Of these, 6.8 million deaths occurred in three countries: India, Russia and Indonesia. In the Americas, there were five countries with the highest number of deaths: the United States, Brazil, Mexico, Peru and Colombia, totaling 2.6 million.

“These sobering figures point not only to the impact of the pandemic, but also to the need for all countries to invest in more resilient health systems that can sustain essential health services during crises, including stronger health information systems,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO General Director.

Excess mortality used by WHO and other researchers is calculated as the difference between the number of deaths that have occurred and the number that would be expected in the absence of the pandemic based on data from previous years. The excess deaths are attributed to Covid-19.

“The situation in countries that did not have the capacity to report all deaths, even those directly caused because the victim had not been tested, must be understood. In other countries there was disruption of care for the chronically ill because the system and staff were fully dedicated to the pandemic,” said Socé Fall, WHO Assistant General-Director for Emergencies.

The WHO global study was conducted by the Covid-19 Mortality Assessment Technical Advisory Group, co-chaired by Professor Debbie Bradshaw and Dr. Kevin McCormack with extensive support from Professor Jon Wakefield of the University of Washington.

“These new estimates use the best available data and have been produced using a robust methodology and a fully transparent approach,” said Dr. Samira Asma, Assistant General-Director for Data, Analysis and disclosure at WHO.

This article was originally published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by Havana Times



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Redacción Confidencial

Redacción Confidencial

Confidencial es un diario digital nicaragüense, de formato multimedia, fundado por Carlos F. Chamorro en junio de 1996. Inició como un semanario impreso y hoy es un medio de referencia regional con información, análisis, entrevistas, perfiles, reportajes e investigaciones sobre Nicaragua, informando desde el exilio por la persecución política de la dictadura de Daniel Ortega y Rosario Murillo.