Medellin Metro Theoretically Could See 3 Million Coronavirus Infections: Mayor
Medellin Mayor Daniel Quintero announced April 17 via his Twitter account that the Medellin metro area — Valle de Aburra — theoretically could have 3 million people infected with Coronavirus.
However, the Mayor didn’t specify how this would happen, when it might happen, nor how many cases would be “severe” or “critical.”
“In Medellín and its metropolitan area, we estimate that between 2 million and 3 million people could be infected by Covid-19. I see people relaxing. We have only bought time. The hardest is yet to come,” Quintero warned.
The alarmist message from the Mayor comes on the heels of the latest Colombia Health Ministry computerized data-modeling forecast, which (in theory) indicates that perhaps 50% of Colombians eventually would be infected with Coronavirus (see Medellin Herald April 16, 2020).
However, the number of Colombians with life-threatening complications is likely to be a small fraction of the total Coronavirus infections, according to Health Ministry forecasts.
Nevertheless, Colombia continues to buy-time against a potentially huge wave of simultaneous infections by imposing quarantines and other restrictive measures — especially for the most vulnerable populations, according to the Ministry.
“The [Coronavirus] mortality rate in our nation is just three per million inhabitants, while in Brazil it is eight, in Panama 22 and in the United States it is 86 deaths,” according to an April 16 bulletin from the Colombian Health Ministry.
“These figures allow us to recognize that Colombia has been facing the Covid-19 pandemic [with proactive initiatives] such as having the first laboratory for the diagnosis of the virus in Latin America and also being the pioneers in adopting extreme measures against the new Coronavirus on the continent, in order to preserve the public health of Colombians.
“Among the measures are a series of decrees, guidelines and protocols that have guided the current situation and that have allowed a better preparation of the Colombian health system . . .
“The Minister of Health hails the work that the private sector has done in the extension of Intensive Care Units (ICU) in a period of a month-and-a-half,” the Ministry added.
While hospitals, clinics and Colombia’s “EPS” health-care insurance networks are by law required to invest in measures to protect hospital and health workers from infections, “the [Colombian] state has taken measures in this regard and on April 8 began to deliver supplies to the institutions” including “750,000 items of personal protection throughout the country” and “in the next month-and-a-half, 19 million [more] protection elements can be delivered” to hospitals and clinics, according to Health Minister Fernando Ruiz Gomez.
National Government Helping Poor People, Hospitals, Clinics
On a related front, Colombia’s national government is speeding deliveries of crucial food and medical supplies — especially aiming to help the poorest people, Colombia President Ivan Duque announced on April 16.
“We are talking about more than COP$6 trillion [US$1.5 billion] to deal with this emergency, and that implies the resources that have to do with equipping and acquiring equipment, but also to strengthen the protection and expansion capacity of the health system,” Duque said.
Under the president’s “Social and Economic Emergency” powers, “resources have been allocated to serve the most vulnerable, particularly 2.6 million families from the Families in Action program, 276,000 Youth in Action students and 1.7 million older adults,” he said.
“This has allowed us to implement ‘solidarity income’ that reaches nearly 3 million families who were not in any government social program, and who are receiving this attention from the state for the first time.”
In total, the national government has already implemented 72 decrees that have boosted funding to address the emergency, the President added.
“Progress has also been made in the distribution of 1.7 million nutritional aids or reinforcements through the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare (ICBF), to serve children,” according to Duque.
What’s more, “we have put into operation the ‘PAE at Home’ [normally a public-school feeding program, but schools are closed during the crisis] so that 6.2 million children can receive food at home — and I want to highlight that we are already above 3.2 million” children receiving home-feeding support, he added.