The Maduro government announced today that there were 82 new cases of COVID-19 detected in the country over the past day, raising the total since the outbreak began to 1327.
Continuing the trend, Maduro stressed that the overwhelming majority of these cases–80–are individuals who recently arrived from Colombia, while the remaining two are cases of community transmission.
During a televised address, Maduro argued that the Venezuelan healthcare system was able to “care for all” who are infected with the disease, while other nations struggle in their response to the virus. Maduro said:
In the US, [people infected with COVID-19] die unless they have insurance. Meanwhile, here with socialism, we care for all. We have problems at our borders with Colombia and Brazil, which are hyper-infected.
Maduro also said that the infection curve for COVID-19 in Venezuela was “super flattened”.
In fact, the Venezuelan healthcare system–already under severe stress before the arrival of COVID-19–is less than well suited to deal with the pandemic. In late March, just weeks into the outbreak in Venezuela, an epidemiologist at the Hospital Universitario de Caracas told CNN En Espanol:
It’s no secret that we’re not ready for this. There’s a lot of fear both among the general population and the medical staff. There’s a real panic over what could be coming.
The hospital, “one of the few that the government has specifically designated” to treat COVID-19 patients, lacked basic medical necessities like disinfectant, surgical gloves, and masks.
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