The family of a Venezuelan woman who tested positive for coronavirus died after she concealed her diagnosis from them.
Verónica García Fuentes, 36, from the state of Tachira in Venezuela, fell ill with a fever in mid-December. She took a PCR test which came back positive and isolated herself at home, but she told her husband and children she had a bad case of the flu.
According to the Venezuelan newspaper La Nación, Fuentes may have kept her COVID-19 diagnosis a secret out of fear. At the end of December, she told her husband José Antonio, 33, she had coronavirus as he was on his way to a family party to stop him from mixing with other relatives.
In January, Fuentes developed pneumonia but her husband and three children, one aged 17 and twins aged four, all tested negative in a rapid test.
Two weeks later, Fuentes’ condition deteriorated and she was admitted to hospital. The rest of her family then tested positive for COVID-19, but appeared to be asymptomatic.
Days later, her husband was admitted to hospital with severe symptoms and a week later, both died. The couple’s three children had also passed away by the end of January.
Medical authorities in the region have responded to the sad case by reinforcing the need to follow basic precautions, like using face masks, hand washing and social distancing.
Experts have also warned people to be extra vigilant. One local doctor Amelia Fressen told La Nación: “Everything that looks like covid is covid, until the opposite is proven.”
As of February 2021, there have been 127,346 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Venezuela, with 1,196 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro recently faced criticism for promoting the “miracle” medication Carvativir that he said neutralizes COVID-19 with no side effects. However, medical experts say there is no scientific evidence to back up these claims.
Maduro said Carvativir is an oral solution derived from the herb thyme, used in traditional herbal medicine. It has no known effect on coronavirus.
He added the alleged treatment had been under testing for nine months among Venezuelans ill with the coronavirus. He described the liquid as “miracle drops of Jose Gregorio Hernandez,” a 19th century Venezuelan doctor who was beatified by the Roman Catholic Church last year.
“It has gone through a period of nine months of study, experimentation, clinical application. On the sick, on the very sick, on people who have been intubated, and we recovered them,” he said, during a televised broadcast.
Maduro also kept secret the name of the “brilliant Venezuelan mind” behind the development of the drug, saying he needed to protect them.
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