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Wednesday, 20 January, 2021

COVID-19 killed 224 doctors in Venezuela in six months of 2020

The highest number of deceased physicians was registered in the states of Zulia and Carabobo. In December alone, 17 specialists died from the disease, a 34% decrease in deaths concerning the figure reported in November. The NGO Doctors United for Venezuela attributes to an awareness campaign for the correct use of biosafety implements.

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By Armando Altuve.

In 2020, 298 health-care workers died from complications associated with the virus. Of them, 224 were doctors whose cases were reported between June and December, according to the record kept by El Pitazo.

The accumulated balance started on June 16, when the first doctor died from COVID-19 in Venezuela was reported. The figures show that seven passed away in June and 24 in July. Another 56 died in August; 62 in September; 32 in October; 26 in November. Finally, 17 died in December.

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With some 1.024 deaths to January 2021, deceased health-care personnel makes up more than 25% of all Coronavirus casualties in Venezuela, a statistical anomaly that has been blamed on lack of proper equipment to handle infected patients and water shortages to maintain basic levels of hygiene. Hospitals in Venezuela do not even have emergency generators, the International Red Cross noted at the beginning of the pandemic, and 90% of the country has no running water.

The data from NGO Doctors United for Venezuela and national correspondents of El Pitazo show that between November and December, was a 34% decrease in the number of dead doctors reported.

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In an interview with El Pitazo, the NGO director, Jaime Lorenzo, attributed the reduction to the campaign they have undertaken in the country to encourage health personnel to use biosecurity equipment.

As the pandemic began in Venezuela, health care workers demanded timely and sufficient supplies of protection, such as masks, gloves, and special suits, not only for doctors but for all hospital workers. According to the experts, the lack of such crucial equipment increased infection among doctors, nurses, and other workers.

At least 81 deceased physicians reported in the count were practicing their profession in health centers at the time of their coronavirus illness.

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With the latest data, it has been determined that the accumulated figure up to December of doctors who died from COVID-19 represents 21% of the 1,025 deaths of health personnel admitted by the Nicolás Maduro administration up to December 30.

In December, the NGO reported the death of another two obstetricians, an anesthesiologist, and a pediatrician. According to the figures of Doctors United of Venezuela, these are the three areas of medicine more affected by the coronavirus.

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