The Truth of Coronavirus in Haiti Depicts a ‘Disaster of Epic Proportions’
April 9, 2020 (EIRNS)—When the story of coronavirus in Haiti is told truthfully, it will be “a disaster of epic proportions,” said Dr. Jeb Sprague, a research assistant at the University of California at Riverside, in a report to the Grayzone’s “Red Lines with Anya Parampil” podcast on April 9. Parampil opened her podcast referring to Sprague’s co-authored article with University of Haiti agronomist Nazaire St. Fort in the Grayzone, on March 30, “Haiti on the Precipice as Coronavirus and U.S.-Imposed Leadership Take Their Toll.”
The official figure of 30 confirmed cases in Haiti is not believable. There is virtually no testing taking place; the official poverty rate is 58.6%—although more reliable estimates put it at 80%, given the fact that the majority of the population has no decent housing, sanitation services, or jobs. Public health infrastructure was long ago gutted. To speak of self-isolation policies is a joke; people who quarantine, starve. In the capital of Port-au-Prince, people continue to gather in public places, for celebrations, public markets, and in nightclubs.
Dr. Sprague points out that the government spends $13 per capita for healthcare, compared to the neighboring Dominican Republic with $180 per capita, or Cuba, which spends $781 per capita. In this situation, estimates that as many as 800,000 Haitians could die from COVID-19, are entirely plausible, Dr. Sprague said. One Haitian physician suggested to the authors that deaths from coronavirus could exceed those from the 2010 earthquake. Consider the fact that there are only 64 ventilators in the whole country, many of which don’t work.
An added element is the porous, 224-mile border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, where official coronavirus cases have climbed to 2,349. According to the International Office for Migration, since March 29, more than 11,000 Haitians have left the Dominican Republic to return home to Haiti. Only about 2,500 of those passed through official checkpoints, where they could be screened for flu-like symptoms and have their temperatures taken. Thousands of others returned, undetected and unscreened, via rivers or mountain crossings, the Miami Herald reported today.