Scientists rush to defend Venezuelan colleagues threatened over coronavirus study
By Rodrigo P?rez Ortega Jun. 2, 2020 , 12:45 PM
Science’s COVID-19 reporting is supported by the Pulitzer Center.

Scientific and human rights groups in Venezuela and abroad have rushed to defend the Venezuelan Academy of Physical, Mathematical and Natural Sciences (ACFIMAN) after a high-level government official suggested raids or arrests to punish the academy for “causing alarm” in a report that suggested the country’s coronavirus epidemic is far worse than official numbers show.

In the unsigned 18-page report, released on 8 May, scientists at ACFIMAN used mathematical models to estimate the current and future size of the epidemic in the country. As of 30 March, up to 883 people in Venezuela had been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, they concluded—well above the 135 reported confirmed infections at the time. The report also said the government’s reassurances that it had “flattened the curve” of exponentially increasing infections were wrong. Without additional control measures, Venezuela could see between 1000 and to 4000 cases daily during the pandemic’s expected peak between June and September, according to the study...