Cuba’s Minister of Public Health, Dr. José Ángel Portal Miranda, urged the population to comply with protective measures to stop the spread of Covid-19, at a time when the Caribbean country has accumulated 83,515 confirmed cases and 443 deaths due to complications of the disease.
Interviewed by a local TV program, the official said that the Cuban health system faces its most challenging moment since COVID-19 started on the island in March 2020. He specified that to date, a total of 77,953 people have been infected with the virus and commented that the recovery rate (91.4 percent) is one of the highest in the world. He added that the case fatality rate is stable (0.53 percent) and has decreased in relation to the pandemic’s early stages.
The Health Minister noted that the number of active cases reached 5,063 (6.1 percent). However, he stated this indicator had experienced significant growth due to the increase in the number of infections during the last weeks. “Cuba has not experienced a collapse of its health network because we were proactive and set up more beds, although the increase in the number of infections forced us to use facilities not used so far,” he said.
Portal Miranda expressed that the country has the capability to deal with even higher numbers but that infection rates need to be reduced as well as the numbers reaching ICU units. He also urged his fellow Cubans to increase risk perception and reinforce self-care, especially by applying social distancing when outside their homes and using protective masks, among other actions.
Since late January, the minister explained that the outbreak had been characterized by confirmation of more than 5,000 cases per week and dispersion of positives in all provinces. Another feature of this stage is the increase of infections in children and younger older adults.
Meanwhile, Dr. Guadalupe Guzmán, head of the Research, Diagnosis and Reference Center of the Institute of Tropical Medicine (IPK) of Cuba, added some essential information during the TV program.
The expert said that between December 28, 2020, and March 28, 2020, a population study was carried out which identified five variants and six mutational patterns of the 614 variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus (strain identified since the beginning of the pandemic in the country and which still predominates) circulating in Cuba.
She explained that these variants include those reported in South Africa, California (USA), and the United Kingdom, which are highly contagious and have been internationally linked to an increase in mortality. The virologist pointed out that the most effective remedy against the virus continues to be prevention and the application of health protocols.
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