Experts: There are more Covid cases than are officially known

The official numbers for positive cases of Covid-19 do not reflect the infections that really exist in the country due to underreporting, say epidemiologists and public health experts. They point out that not everyone affected by the virus will be tested and not all the demands of the people who have formed huge queues in recent weeks will be met. It is estimated that the positive results would exceed 20,000 cases.

“This increase in this wave, which could be called an epidemiological storm, is taking place across Europe. In our country we are going through this fourth wave and it has broken several records in terms of the number of people infected, but if we look at it we have reached 14,000. There is certainly under-reporting, and much more in some regions than others,” said former Health and Public Health Minister Guillermo Cuentas.

He added that all known cases have been published by the Ministry of Health, these 14,000 cases are only the reported ones. “That is, are we talking about how many cases can actually occur in our country per day?”

no test

Meanwhile, Roger Carvajal, a doctor and researcher at the Institute of Health Diagnostic and Research Laboratory Services (Seladis) of the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés (UMSA), which coincides with Cuentas, pointed out that the officially reported cases are not the real ones, since there There are many people who don’t come for testing and stay at home to be healed.

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“How many of those who are known to have symptoms or have been in contact with someone who is positive are being tested? Very few, because in reality the data presented is the test. That of 14,000 is very little; must be at least 20 thousand. It’s my personal opinion, but it’s valid in the sense that there are a lot of people who don’t take the tests,” Carvajal said.


dr Cuentas pointed out that underreporting is only evident when considering the city of El Alto, which on certain occasions reports a number of citizens as positive cases out of a huge population.

“The city that should have the greatest under-coverage is called El Alto, that is, it is inconceivable that a city with very intense commercial activity, with concentrations of very active populations, could have fewer cases than the department of Oruro, for example. And El Alto has twice the population of Oruro. Rest assured that there is under-registration across the country and why there is under-registration,” he assured.


Carvajal pointed out that this explosion of positive coronavirus cases is due to infections with the Omicron variant, whose presence in the country has been confirmed by Seladis and whose presence was 40 percent and Delta 60 percent on January 2 hundred.

“The presence of the Omicron variant, which has three times the potential for dispersal and transmission than the Delta and is multiplying exponentially. This is really something unprecedented. From one moment to the next it becomes dominant, it covers all the rooms and it’s the variant that takes over everything worldwide, it’s something that has never been seen,” he explained.

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Self-medication creates resistance

As the rise of Covid-19 infections in Bolivia accelerates, thousands of people are waiting in long lines to access vaccines or nasal antigen tests. In addition, pharmacies are collapsing due to the demand for medicines without a doctor’s prescription.

The ANF consulted infectious disease physician and former World Health Organization (WHO) adviser Rodrigo Castedo, who recommends that the population refrain from self-medication to treat the symptoms of Covid-19, particularly antibiotics and corticosteroids.

“Medications are not necessary for mild Covid as a simple paracetamol is more than sufficient. Antibiotics are useless against Covid-19; these antibacterial drugs have no effect. So if a person takes them, they may end up regretting it because they create resistance in the body,” he said.

The collapse of health centers and vacancies for nasal antigen testing has forced many families to choose to purchase drugs without a proper diagnosis or prescription.

“Taking azithromycin or amoxicillin is a bad idea, but taking corticosteroids is even more bad as they are very aggressive. These are drugs that can start killing cells in our immune system, so it’s like getting a bullet in the foot,” Castedo added.


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