Colombia’s health minister was struggling to explain how confirmed COVID-19 cases have been dropping while reporting the second highest number of deaths on Tuesday.
Health Minister Fernando Ruiz avoided mentioning the 389 new deaths in President Ivan Duque‘s daily COVID show on Facebook, but preferred talking about “fluctuating numbers.”
The daily of number of deaths have been relatively stable over the past week — fluctuating between 278 and 300 per day — until Tuesday’s spike.
Source: Health Ministry
Confirmed deaths exceed 20,000
Tuesday’s reported deaths pushed the total number of deaths in Colombia to 20,052, leaving the South American country with the 11th highest number of deaths in the world.
In the Americas, Colombia has reported the seventh highest number of deaths per million inhabitants.
Reported deaths per million
Less testing, less reported infections
The health ministry on Thursday reported having received 22,650 tests results, the lowest number since July.
This implies that regional health authorities and private health intermediaries have reduced testing to less than half of their capacity while health experts have urged to step up testing like in other countries.
The health minister has been criticized for failing to facilitate sufficient testing that would allow somewhat accurate tracking of the pandemic and timely responses in cases of a suspected outbreak.
Ruiz, however, appears to be immune to criticism and has developed a habit of distorting the truth to conceal the government’s failures in responding to the pandemic.
Tuesday’s spike in deaths could confirm scientists’ claims that the the real number of infections is likely to be multiple times higher than that reported by the government.
Deaths related to COVID-19 reported by the statistics agency DANE have also been considerably higher than those reported by the health minister.