(Rico’s Digest) Costa Rica’s Health Minister, Daniel Salas, prescribed a good dose of “ubicatex” to the President of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, without even mentioning his name, with a free lesson on epidemiology.
Minister Salas, who is a medical doctor with a Master’s in Public Health with an emphasis in Management and a Professional Master’s in Epidemiology with an emphasis in Epidemiology applied to Health Systems, on Wednesday, schooled the Salvadoran president after Bukele on Tuesday, on his nation’s live television and followed on Twitter, why Costa Rica had few confirmed cases of covid-19.
Salas, with great restraint of leadership, explained to Juan (the people of Costa Rica), so that Pedro (Bukele) could understand what the country (Costa Rica) did to flatten the coronavirus curve.
“To date, 14,448 samples have been processed, we also want to refer to what are the strategies followed in this country, to detect cases and possible circulation, not only of the coronavirus but of others such as influenza or rhinovirus, which they do not stop circulating throughout the year.
“We want to present to the population how we have been monitoring the situation by COVID-19, what strategies have been incorporated and everything that has led us to the results that we have had in Costa Rica,” explained Dr. Salas.
Bukele, is a layman, businessman and politician did not study medicine, is not a doctor, less an expert in Epidemiology or health management, said that Costa Rica has few cases because they are not testing enough, “giving people the perception of flattening the curve, diminishing the number of reported infections.”
The former president of the Legislative Assembly, Carlos Benavides, (2019-2020), took to Twitter to set Bukele straight, “Costa Rica also gives the perception of having more than 70 years of not having an army, of investing in health and education, of having exemplary social security and of working every day to avoid authoritarianism and protect our democratic system.”
Benavides, who is no doctor, but a lawyer, businessman and politician, did not speak of medical terms, but of Costa Rica political achievements.
However, Dr. Maria Luis Avila, who is a medical doctor, a pediatric infectious disease specialist and who was Minister of Health from 2006-2011, let Bukele have it with a direct hit, saying “the classic example of an ignorant – with all due respect Mr president – talking about what he doesn’t know.”
“I think that this is a strategy by the President (Bukele) to divert attention from the problems his country is suffering after being accused of human rights violations with the subject of persons deprived of liberty.
“Possibly he has had several criticisms in this regard and we must also see how the situation of the coronavirus is in El Salvador, there is a lot of migration from his country to another side looking for better horizons … I think we fell, and I include myself, in his strategy of generating controversy with the tweet they shared,” said María Luisa.
“Populists usually use this type of strategy to divert attention from what is happening in their own country”, added the good doctor.
Also responding on social networks was the popular former minister of Education (2006-2014) and a very influential political voice in the country, Leonardo Garnier.
“Contrary to what some seem to think, the fight against COVID-19 is not a competition between countries, it is not about ‘winning the other.’ On the contrary, either we all win or we all lose. The best thing that can happen to us is that the neighbors also give this fight successfully,” Garnier posted.
Doctor Cool. For his part, Don Daniel, remained calm, producing some very nice slides, with drawings and everything, so that no one had trouble understanding issues such as ‘centinela’ surveillance program (surveillance at points considered high risk), the number of tests carried out, and the control of imported cases.
On the Government’s side, the only one who directly referred to the issue was Foreign Minister Rodolfo Solano, who said on Noticias Columbia that he had already sent for the Costa Rican ambassador to El Salvador, Ana Patricia Pineda Salinas, because he is very concerned about the unsubstantiated statements given by Bukele.
The criticism of Bukele also came from within his borders, from that of Rafael Cerna, editor of the Salvadoran newspaper, Más, who said he does not know why the president of his nation had such a reaction, chalking it up to a slip in the heat of live television.
“I do not know what the President (of El Salvador) relied on to assert that Costa Rica gives the false impression of having controlled COVID-19 to some extent, but, as far as I understand, from what I have seen and read, it was a slip or misinterpretation in the heat of live television and radio. And the reactions of Costa Rican officials and former officials reinforce what I think,” said Rafael Cerna, editor-in-chief of the Salvadoran newspaper Más.
What is your opinion? Is Costa Rica fudging the numbers to look good or for a more nefarious reason? Do you believe Dr. Salas in his daily report on the numbers?