Radio26.Cu – Matanzas, Cuba


Dr. Francisco Duran Garcia, Head of Epidemiology at the Ministry of Public Health on the situation of COVID-19 in Cuba

Tamara Caridad Mesa González 14 abril, 2020

Introductory remarks by Dr. Francisco Duran, head of Epidemiology at the Ministry of Public Health. COVID-19 Media Update, April 14, 2020


Good morning everybody tuned in to the press briefing, TV viewers and people listening on the radio.


Updating on the international situation, firstly  let me start by saying that the number of countries with the disease remain at 182, with 1,800,308 confirmed COVID19  cases, 72,300 more than yesterday. However, I am obliged because I saw it this morning if I am not mistaken in the morning magazine, that is the cut until 12 o’clock at night.

But  I heard  this morning and it is possible that since there are already +2,000,000 people who have been confirmed with this disease. The number of deaths from this disease has increased by 5321 from one day to the next, and 113,513 have already accumulated, or a rate of 6.28, which is similar to yesterday’s but always a little higher.


If it is maintained that 98, 3 of the countries have transmission of the disease, which is 179 countries.


Specifically in the Americas region, there are a total of 647,192 confirmed cases, with more than 40,000 in one day.


35.8% of the total number of reported cases in the world, 25,621 died in the Americas region, almost 2,000 more than the previous day.


This gives a lethality rate of 2.96%.


There were no entry or exit operations in our country yesterday and, in any case, 12,473 people remain in Cuba, of which 5490 are foreigners and 1064 are emigrants. And as we have said, Santiago de Cuba and the municipalities of Casa, Centro Habana and Playa are the ones where there are a higher number rental houses.


We have 2501 patients admitted to the hospitals, 221 who are under surveillance, 1629 who are suspects and 611 confirmed. In primary health care, 7167 people are being monitored.


For the diagnosis of COVID19  1634 samples were studied, more than 1000 again. In the IPK laboratory 763, And in the laboratories of molecular biology of Santiago de Cuba 87, Villa Clara 338, In the laboratory in Havana  185, in the laboratory of civil defense 161.


As a result of the study of those 1634 samples yesterday, 40 persons tested positive for 2, 4% of positivity of the samples studied. Similar in the percentages to those of previous days. In this way, the country has accumulated 18,864 samples, of which 766 were positive, 4% of the samples taken.


Of these 40 new cases that were confirmed yesterday, and which make a total of 766 in the country, all were Cubans.


22 were contacts from confirmed cases, one was a traveler’s contact and the source of infection is being investigated for 17. This number is increasing because these are cases in which it is not easy to establish the epidemiological relationship  with a person who has come from abroad or with a confirmed case.


Of the 40 cases diagnosed, 21 were female, 46.9% all these days have remained at a proportion of 40 and so 51 between females and males. 20%, or eight of the 40 new confirmed cases were asymptomatic, which I have referred to this on other occasions.


I have referred to the importance of looking at these groups that are asymptomatic, studying them and trying to identify them.


The most affected age groups are those from 40 to 60 years old, of which there are 15 people, and those under 40, there are 15 people as well, which represent 37.5% respectively.


The most representative province is Havana with 29 cases.  Of the confirmed cases, Summarizing the situation of the 29 cases in Havana,  six are from the municipality of Centro Habana, five from  East Havana, four from Marianao.   La Lisa and El Cerro three each.  10 de Octubre and Cotorro municipalities two in each.  And one case diagnosed in Playa, Guanabacoa, Boyeros and Arroyo Naranjo respectively.


Mayabeque province confirms 2 cases, from San Jose de las Lajas and Madruga; Villa Clara 1 case from the municipality of Cifuentes; Sancti Espíritus 3, from the municipality of Sancti Spiritus 2 and Cabaiguan 1; Ciego de Ávila 2, from the municipalities of Ciego de Ávila and Morón; Holguín 1 from the municipality of Mayarí; and Guantánamo 2, from the municipality of Baracoa.


I was telling you that out of some 766 patients who have been diagnosed since we started studying this disease, 599 maintain a stable clinical evolution. As we explained yesterday, a total of 21 deaths have been reported, for lethality of 2.7%.


We have had two evacuations and 132 discharges.  Yesterday there were 11 more discharges. Nine patients remain reported as critical today and three remain reported in serious condition.


Of the nine patients who are in critical condition five are in Havana. One in the Dr. Luis Díaz Soto Hospital, which is the Naval Hospital, and one in the IPK Hospital.  In the Salvador Allende Hospital, there are three critical patients.



In the Villa Clara province  military hospital there are two and in the Santiago de Cuba military hospital there are two as well.


Of the serious cases, one is in the Salvador Allende  hospital, one is in the Camagüey military hospital and one is in the Fermín Valdés Domínguez hospital in Holguín province.


Two critical patients and one serious patient were added to these categories. There are five patients that were reported in serious condition who have had a favorable evolution and now are under the category of guarded  a state that evidences a recovery.



Of the critical patients, giving more elements on them, two are from Villa Clara, five are from Havana and two are from Santiago de Cuba.


Of the associated pathologies, one case has ischemic cardiopathy, four have high blood pressure, one has neuropathy, three have diabetes, one has adrenal insufficiency and one has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, one has a malignant tumor, one has hypothyroidism and one has leukemia.


In the case of serious cases, one is from Havana, one is from  Ciego de Avila,  and one is from Holguín, and one has an associated ischemic cardiopathy, one has arterial hypertension and one is obese. These are risk factors that, as we have also said, are present in these patients and they condition the  evolution that is not very favorable in these cases



Before I move on to the questions I would like to refer to issues I have been told by a group of people who send me messages in relation to cats and transmission. I believe I referred to that subject on one occasion.


I explained that it had been demonstrated in Australia that it was from a patient, I think it was Australia people that was confirmed the cat was studied, samples were taken, nasopharyngeal and it was positive.


That cat appears to have developed the disease, but there have not been any other similar reports despite the number of thousands of cases that have already been confirmed.



So far, no data confirms that there is a established transmission to cats, and I mean a cat or any other pet, that a cat develops the disease or that the cat becomes a source of infection.


I’ve been asked about the fumigation. If we know the way of transmission of this disease we realize that fumigation with the term that is known is to kill generally vectors, mosquitoes, sometimes for cockroaches, which are not  the vectors for this disease. Anyway, in Cuba it is important to always maintain a level of fumigation, but not precisely because of the COVID, but because of the infestation of the aedes aegypty mosquito, of which the Cuban people have a sufficient culture.


If we have seen water being sprayed with chlorine in our country, there are images that I have seen of Santiago de Cuba, in other countries with pressure hoses being sprayed with chlorine, because unquestionably that helps to avoid that the virus exists on some surface, let’s say in the street, remember that there are people who sometimes expectorate and do it in the street, and so there is a chance of the presence of the virus so it can be eliminated this way.

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