Photo: COVID-19 Hub

1,000 New Cases Every Three Days

That’s how the contagion rate has accelerated in two weeks, proving the repressive response by the regime was inefficient; Two projects for developing a vaccine have yielded positive results, but it’s all preliminary

  • In the last 24 hours, there have been four COVID-19 related deaths and 443 new cases in Venezuela, surpassing 12,000 cases according to Nicolás’s vice president, Delcy Rodríguez. She said 413 are “local contagions,” with 179 cases only in Caracas. Two deaths happened in Sucre state (eastern Venezuela) and two in the Capital District. 
  • It’s the seventh time in a month that the country racks up 1,000 cases in three days: This is how the cases accelerated: 0 to 1,000: 72 days / 1,000 to 2,000: 12 days / 2,000 to 3,000: 11 days / 3,000 to 4,000: 7 days / 4,000 to 5,000:  5 days / 5,000 to 6,000: 4 days / 6,000 to 7,000:  4 days / 7,000 to 8,000: 3 days / 8,000 to 9,000: 3 days  / 9,000 to 10,000: 3 days / 10,000 to 11,000: 3 days / 11,000 to 12,000: 3 days. We have to improve the analysis capabilities for PCR tests and invest in tracking admitted cases. The official under-registration is due to the 600 tests per day cap that the Rafael Rangel National Hygiene Institute can process. There could be more cases than those we can analyze. Today, we have 12,334 cases and 116 deaths that they’re admitting to. 
  • Sucre governor Edwin Rojas confirmed that he tested positive for COVID-19 but reported it after “a couple of days of treatment.” No chavista puts an effort into hiding the absolutely different set of considerations they use for their cases. Luis Parra, who claims to be the leader of the National Assembly, came to a health center in Caracas, after being admitted to Yaracuy’s Central Hospital for pneumonia. 
  • Zulia governor Omar Prieto reappeared in his home and tweeted that he has “full health and considerably improving (…) Still on bed rest,” unlike returning migrants, who are obligated to remain in a concentration camp of sorts. Delta Amacuro governor Lizeta Hernández reported the first coronavirus death in the state, and 31 cases, including three government officials: “They’re all in quarantine with prevention treatment.” 
  • NGOs Súmate and Voto Joven condemned the deficiencies in sanitary protocols during the first week after the opening of the Electoral Registry, which increases the risk of infection. There’s little to none sanitizing of the equipment (fingerprint capture) and supplies (pens), while face masks aren’t used properly and there’s no gloves or social distancing. 
  • David Smolansky has a theory for how the cases have multiplied among chavismo: “Because of several Iranian flights and ships that have come to Venezuela, today high-ranking officials of the regime are infected.” 
  • PSUV thought it would be enough to send compliments and positive wishes to the infected VTV workers, and didn’t offer a reasonable explanation for an outbreak in a place that is totally controlled by the state. They’re talking of “epidemiologic sweeps”  now, which is nothing more than throwing biosafety gear at the maintenance crew and soap and water at surfaces, which doesn’t solve much. 
  • Journalist Javier Ignacio Mayorca reported that they’re planning to charge people who violate quarantine with four crimes: association to commit a crime, expanding the health risks, altering public order and social disobedience. They could also detain people for 45 days. 
  • NGO Foro Penal said that there are 394 political prisoners in the country, 268 civilians (including two teenagers) and 126 military officers, 364 men and 30 women. There are 59 more detainees than on April 14th. 
  • The sale of gas will be suspended until further notice in Táchira state, at the Venezuelan andes, starting Monday, to “avoid a wave of contagion in our state” said Nelly Verlugo, chavista regional deputy on Instagram. 
  • Retired citizens of Venezuela called for a national and international protest on July 23rd, to denounce violation of their rights and demand fair pensions. The pensions are around $2 to $3 a month right now. 
  • The Taiwan-Venezuela Parliamentary Group delivered over 117,000 medical supplies and food bags to NGOs, medical associations, neighborhood associations, mayorships and governors’ offices, donated to prevent and fight coronavirus. 
  • The new Uruguayan Foreign minister, Francisco Bustillo, said on Monday that “Venezuela is a dictatorship.” He also said that his country “doesn’t have an international gendarme vein” so it’s not up to them to chase dictatorships, but will remain in the group of countries that seek a peaceful solution to the Venezuelan conflict, even though they won’t promote more dialogue because of “the lack of will of the parts” referring to Nicolás’s regime. 
  • Nicolás’s Foreign minister, Jorge Arreaza, recommended Bustillo “updates his knowledge regarding international law, studying Venezuelan constitutional law and avoiding ideology when it comes to his country’s foreign policy because of affinities.” Yes, he said “avoiding ideology.” 
  • Nicolás warned on Twitter about what he believes to be a media campaign developed by the American empire to discredit the country (!).
  • Yesterday, the National Court of Justice of Ecuador, ratified the sentence of eight years of jail for former president Rafael Correa, for acts of corruption. He remains out of the country. 
  • Two projects for developing a vaccine against COVID-19, one in China and one in the UK, tested to be safe in humans and produced an important immune response, said the clinical trials published in The Lancet, a medical journal. The project developed at Oxford University in association with AstraZeneca, generated a strong immune response in a trial with over 1,000 patients, and the second one, backed by  Cansino Biologics, caused a strong antibody reaction in another trial, in most of around 500 patients that participated in the trial. These clinical trials are still in a preliminary phase and their efficiency has to be established with new trials in a larger number of patients. Meaning there’s a long time to go before production and commercialization can be done on a large scale. But we made progress. We keep going. 

Naky Soto

Naky gets called Naibet at home and at the bank. She coordinates training programs for an NGO. She collects moments and turns them into words. She has more stories than freckles.