Honduran President Hospitalized With COVID-19 and Pneumonia

(TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras) — The hospitalization of Honduras’ president with COVID-19 and pneumonia Wednesday has drawn consideration to a different nation struggling beneath the pandemic’s pressure as circumstances rise sharply within the capital.

President Juan Orlando Hernández introduced late Tuesday that he and his spouse had examined constructive for the virus. Simply hours later he was hospitalized after medical doctors decided he had pneumonia.

From March to June 7, Honduras confirmed 6,327 coronavirus infections. Within the 10 days since, it added 3,329 extra, a surge that has come after the federal government started a gradual reactivation of the financial system.

The northern enterprise hub of San Pedro Sula nonetheless accounts for almost all of the circumstances, however the capital, Tegucigalpa, is the main focus of latest infections.

Well being Minister Alba Consuelo Flores confirmed that hospitals in these cities are almost full, however mentioned the federal government needed to start loosening restrictions. Many companies closed since March have been allowed to reopen, although with lowered capability. These corporations present passes to their staff permitting them to keep away from a nationwide curfew that has been prolonged to June 28 and solely permits individuals to depart residence for necessities on sure days based mostly on their nationwide ID quantity.

“If we don’t activate the financial system we’re going to have one other type of pandemic that’s starvation, malnutrition and possibly social crises,” Flores mentioned.

She mentioned if the individuals proceed to be disciplined they’ll be capable to handle the epidemic. The nation made sporting masks compulsory and companies are reopening with simply 20% of their personnel.

However Suyapa Figueroa, president the Honduras Medical School, mentioned hospitals are already being overwhelmed. The Faculty Hospital, the capital’s largest public hospital, has already outfitted further rooms for COVID-19 sufferers, however they haven’t stored up with the demand, she mentioned. A number of dozen individuals have been awaiting house to be hospitalized, she mentioned.

Requested for remark, the hospital despatched a WhatsApp message suggesting two of its officers to talk with late Wednesday however neither could possibly be reached.

A neighborhood information station circulated video Tuesday of greater than a dozen our bodies wrapped in black luggage scattered by way of hallways and rooms within the hospital’s overwhelmed morgue.

Figueroa mentioned that as a consequence of a scarcity of stress gauges, oxygen is shifted from affected person to affected person in turns.

The Faculty Hospital is one well being heart the place the Worldwide Committee of the Pink Cross is supporting the nation’s well being system.

The group has established a twin triage system that permits it to isolate these arriving with COVID-19 signs and attempt to refer them to different hospitals the place there may be mattress house, mentioned Karim Khallaayoun, mission chief for the Pink Cross in Honduras. The group has additionally equipped private protecting gear for hospital employees, coaching on find out how to use it and counseling because the bodily and psychological pressure of the work takes its toll.

“Over the previous week, we’re seeing an exponential enhance in Tegucigalpa,” Khallaayoun mentioned. “Tegucigalpa has now change into the epicenter of the contagion within the nation.”

He mentioned most intensive care beds within the capital are full and the caseload is predicted to proceed rising in coming days.

Noting that the illness has been unpredictable, Khallaayoun mentioned, “it’s fairly potential that the hospital system goes to be overwhelmed within the subsequent two, three weeks earlier than we see a descent within the figures.”

Honduras has had almost 10,000 confirmed circumstances of the illness and 330 deaths. However testing is proscribed and the true figures are absolutely a lot greater. The Well being Ministry started sending groups into neighborhoods Tuesday to carry out fast checks for the coronavirus in an effort to detect infections earlier than hospitalization is required.

Final week, the humanitarian group Medical doctors With out Borders mentioned it had began treating crucial COVID-19 sufferers requiring oxygen in a 20-bed ward arrange on the Nationwide Autonomous College of Honduras. The purpose was to alleviate stress on the general public well being system.

Honduras’ president mentioned Tuesday evening that he had already began feeling higher and deliberate to be re-evaluated Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Francis Contreras, spokesman for the Nationwide System of Danger Administration, mentioned at a information convention that after reviewing Hernández’s lab work and X-rays, medical doctors decided the president had pneumonia and advisable he be hospitalized. He mentioned Hernández was in good situation, however he was receiving drugs intraveneously that needed to be administered within the Army Hospital.

Hernández had mentioned that over the weekend he started feeling some discomfort and on Tuesday obtained the check outcomes.

He mentioned it was a part of the chance that comes with the job. Together with his obligations, he mentioned, he couldn’t keep at residence consistently.

Hernández mentioned he had began what he referred to as the “MAIZ therapy,” an experimental mixture of microdacyn, azithromycin, ivermectin and zinc.

He mentioned his spouse was asymptomatic and two different individuals who work with them are additionally contaminated.

Hernández is a detailed ally of the Trump administration, primarily in efforts to sluggish unlawful immigration. Nevertheless, U.S. federal prosecutors in New York have prosecuted the president’s brother and made it more and more clear {that a} case is constructing in opposition to Hernández himself.

No fees have been filed in opposition to the president, however U.S. prosecutors have alleged he accepted cash from drug traffickers to advance his political profession in alternate for letting them transfer medicine by way of the nation. Hernández denies these allegations.

He was re-elected in a disputed November 2017 election, regardless of the nation’s constitutional ban on reelection.


Related Press author Marlon González reported this story in Tegucigalpa and AP author Christopher Sherman reported from Mexico Metropolis.

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