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COVID-19 Numbers Are Bad In Ecuador. The President Says The Real Story Is Even Worse

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  • COVID-19 Numbers Are Bad In Ecuador. The President Says The Real Story Is Even Worse

    Source: https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsan...ory-is-even-wo

    COVID-19 Numbers Are Bad In Ecuador. The President Says The Real Story Is Even Worse
    April 20, 20203:50 PM ET
    John Otis
    3-Minute Listen

    Ecuador has one of the highest rates of COVID-19 in all of Latin America – with 10,128 cases and 507 deaths in a country of just 17 million people.

    But the situation may be far worse than what the official numbers show. In fact, one Ecuadorian official says it appears that thousands more people may have died of the disease than his government is reporting.

    Jorge Wated, who heads a government task force charged with collecting and burying bodies in Guayaquil, the epicenter of the outbreak, said that in the first 15 days of April, 6,703 people had died from either COVID-19 or natural causes. Previous to the coronavirus outbreak, he said, the monthly figure was around 1,000.

    "This is the hard reality we are dealing with," Wated said in a nationally televised address.

    And Interior Minster María Paula Romo has admitted that the true death count is higher but blamed a lack of widespread testing for the discrepancy. Even President Lenín Moreno has dismissed the official figures.

    "We have to tell the truth," he said in a speech last month. "We know that in terms of both infections and deaths, the numbers are too low. There is not enough testing."

    The legions of sick are running doctors ragged, especially in the Pacific port of Guayaquil which is Ecuador's largest city and home to about 70 percent of COVID-19 cases.

    Dr. Eduardo Herdocia, who is just 18 months out of medical school, says he is currently taking care of about 200 patients whom he believes are infected with coronavirus, based on their respiratory symptoms. But due to lack of testing, only about two dozen have been diagnosed as positive. Because Guayaquil's hospitals are overflowing with confirmed CV patients, Herdocia makes house calls...

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