By Catherine Porter for The New York Times
Haiti was spared the worst of the pandemic last year, but the coronavirus has returned to the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with a fury. The nation’s leading newspaper is full of obituaries and hospitals are turning away patients.
The average number of new daily cases has more than doubled in the past two weeks to 153, according to data collected by The New York Times. For a population of about 11.5 million, that’s still relatively low, but many experts believe the number is an undercount because testing capacity is severely limited and many cases remain unreported.
And Haiti’s government has yet to administer a single dose of any vaccine.
Carissa Etienne, the director of the Pan American Health Organization, described the situation in Haiti as “a cautionary tale in just how quickly things can change with this virus.” At a news conference this month, she called for rapid escalation of treatment and preventive measures.
After adding more hospital beds and ramping up emergency plans last year, Haiti relaxed measures to combat the virus as new cases fell. The government mothballed its presidential coronavirus panel, eased enforcement ofits curfew and mask policy and held Carnival celebrations.Continue reading