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Crowds Congregate For Holiday While Deaths From Covid-19 Continue To Rise

Published on May 25, 2021

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With restrictions lifted and a confirmed case of the South African variant in the country, we have no choice but to voice a warning: keep following social distancing, wear your mask everywhere outside of your home, and be highly selective about who you chose to meet/eat with.

This warning comes based on what we have seen every time the government has relaxed restrictions since the pandemic began: within three weeks the number of cases, and more importantly deaths, increase dramatically.

This has happened when the Constitutional Court ruled early this year that citizen mobility could not be restricted for a health emergency; it happened with the relaxed rules during the holiday period; and it happened again after both the first and second elections.

There is no reason to think that we won’t see the same thing happen again in three weeks, especially with the reports of thousands of people recently descending on the country’s historic districts to celebrate the Battle of Pichincha holiday and the inauguration of President Lasso.

While the government states that the number of new cases has fallen—which means nothing in a country that ranks 152nd in testing out of 250 countries followed by Worldometer—it fails to highlight that the number of new deaths has risen again. It has also slowed down its collection of samples, so again, relying on new case numbers is irrelevant.

Also keep in mind that the positivity rate of those tested is 31.15 percent, meaning 3 out of the 10 people in the restaurant with you that haven’t been tested could have Covid-19.

Is it that dangerous out there? Maybe, but probably not. Only 2.34% of the Ecuadorian population has tested positive for the virus. But people are still dying at a significant pace.

It’s important to keep in mind that the rate of mortality once someone enters a hospital in Ecuador is extremely high. Since September 13, 2020, there been 27,076 patients discharged from hospitals across the country; in that same time 9,669 deaths due to Covid-19 were reported.

While many of the deaths since September could have happened outside of the hospitals, assuming even a conservative rate of 50% (4,884) were hospitalized patients, that would mean that for every 11 patients that were discharged, 1 patient died.

Are those odds you want to gamble with?

Tracking the spread and outcome of the coronavirus in Ecuador: Updated for Tuesday, May 25, 2021

This past Sunday, there were 1,725 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 throughout the country, about 8% less than the 1,879 in hospitals last week.

Of that number, 580 of those patients are in the ICU; 7 less than last week.

There were 8,722 new cases this week; this is a drop of 1,111 from last week’s 9,833 new cases.

There were 494 new deaths this week, 17 more than last week, one of the higher numbers of new deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

THE NUMBERS

The rate of positivity went from 31.41% to 31.15%, a percentage point higher than March.

New Cases

This week, only eight (8) provinces saw an increase in the rate of new cases. The overall rate of new cases fell by 0.33%.

There were 8,722 new positive cases this week versus 9,833 last week.

As usual, the province with the highest increase in new cases was Pichincha, which went from 145,035 cases last week to 148,685 cases this week, or 3,650 new cases (versus 4,142 last week).

On a percentage basis, Imbabura again saw the greatest increase in new cases, with a 2.99% increase in total cases (going from 12,977 cases to 13,365 cases).

New Deaths

The number of new deaths rose for the seventh time in 10 weeks. Nine (9) provinces saw an increase in the rate of new deaths. Seven (7) of those had significant increases.

The number of new deaths across the country went from 19,699 to 20,193, with 494 new cases (versus 477last week).

Guayas had the most deaths this week with 167, this is an astonishing increase compared to the 48 it had last week and the 55 the week before.

Cotopaxi had the highest increase in deaths at 5.05%

Manabi was second with 88 new deaths. Pichincha was third with 6 new deaths.

After two weeks with every province reporting new deaths, three provinces (Galapagos, Orellana and Santa Elana) reported no deaths this week.

Hospitalizations

The number of hospitalized patients fell this week from 1,879 to 1,725. The number of ICU patients fell by only 7.

It’s important to note that 494 patients died, which had a limited impact on the lowering in the numbers of hospitalized patients and ICU patients.

The discharge rate fell slightly.

Provincial numbers

As is clear to see in the accompanying charts and graphics, there is a mix of news to report this week. To summarize:

  • Thee (3) provinces reported new deaths this week.
  • Eight (8) provinces saw an increase in the rate of new cases (only 2 of them significantly); sixteen (16) saw a decrease, five (5) of them significantly,
  • Nine (9) provinces saw an increase in the rate of new deaths (7 significantly); fifteen (15) saw a decease (11 of them significantly),
  • The overall rate of new deaths rose,
  • The rate of new sample collection fell,
  • The rate of test completion rose,
  • The number of backlogged tests fell,
  • The rate of discharge fell.

TESTING

Compared to the rest of South America, Ecuador’s testing program is a failure

Ecuador continues to lag behind all of South America (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela) in the percentage of population tested and the number of tests given per million residents.

Based on the Ecuadorian Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INEC) population projections, Ecuador has only tested about 7.82% of its population. With 1,397,765 tests completed (as of May 23, 2021), Ecuador has tested 78,1731 million people, or 152nd out of 215 countries tracked worldwide. This is dismal when compared to Ecuador’s direct neighbors.

Its neighbors Colombia, Peru and Chile (who’s population is size is closest to Ecuador at 19.25 million people) have tested 31.76%, 37.25% and 74.49% of their populations, respectively.

Colombia has tested 317,565/1 million people and ranks 97th on the list. Peru has tested 372,458/1 million people and ranks 90th on the list. Chile has tested 744,939/1 million people and ranks 54th on the list.

[Chile only has 8.1% more people than Ecuador but has tested 10.27 times as many people!]

Argentina, who has serious economic issues, has tested 28.76% of its 45.5 million citizens.

GRAPHICAL HIGHLIGHTS

Here is a quick review of the graphical highlights for Ecuador below (as of Sunday, May 23, 2021, at 8:00AM):

  • 20,193 deaths have been attributed to COVID-19.
  • 1,397,765 test samples have been collected.
  • 418,851 tests have returned positive (+).
  • 925,602 tests have returned negative (-).
  • 1% of the deaths have been among the ages 20 to 49 years old.
  • 3% of the deaths have been among the ages 50 to 64 years old.
  • Only 12.8% of the deaths have been among the ages 65 years and older.
  • Guayas province accounts for 13.4% of confirmed cases (56,307) and 21.90% of the confirmed deaths (4,423).
  • Pichincha province accounts for 35.5% of confirmed cases (148,685) and 16.31% of the confirmed deaths (3,293).
  • Azuay province accounts for at 5.4% of confirmed cases (22,705) and 2.56% of the confirmed deaths (517).

HOW ACCURATE ARE THE NUMBERS?

The numbers from the government are only “accurate” as historical references, since they cannot guarantee that tests completed this week are from samples collected over the last seven days.

However, the graphic accompanying this article (it is provided by the government, but has been modified for easier readability), does offer some recent graphical dated information on four provinces, and at a national level.

The numbers and statistics below are based on all case data collected by the government as of 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 23, 2021. More detail of all of the numbers is available in the graphics that follow.

The numbers in the graphic reflect the number of people who tested positive or negative for the virus, with both the polymerise chain reaction or (PCR) test which looks for antigens and identifies the presence of the virus in the body, and the “Rapid” test which looks for antibodies to the virus and identifies a person’s immune response to the virus. The PCR test gives an earlier identification of those who have been infected by the coronavirus and whether they have an active infection. Ecuador is now only reporting new PCR test results (however, prior Rapid tests are included in its report).

These numbers do not reflect the actual total number of people infected across the country or the number of deaths that can be attributed to COVID-19. The dates on the graphic are also adjusted back to when symptoms began, not when the positive test occurred.

For those who want a deeper level of information for a particular town or city, see: https://www.gestionderiesgos.gob.ec/coe-nacional/

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