In Chinandega, the second department (province) with the highest incidence of COVID-19 in Nicaragua, second only to Managua, "express burials" and fear of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus have become part of daily life.
This Sunday, an Efe team that covered the popular festival of San Pascual Bailón witnessed an "express burial" in the city of Chinandega, head of that province with the same name located in northwest Nicaragua.
Two health workers, dressed in light blue raincoats, assisted by two barely protected civilians, removed the body of a person who was immediately buried in a city cemetery from a residential house.
There was no wake, no ceremony. Nor mass with a present body. Except for a traditional burial where family and friends bid farewell to the bereaved.
A sedan-type vehicle and a double-cab van, both with Managua license plates, plus the two health workers and the two civilians, is what he took up to bury that person, in the presence of dozens of neighbors.
FEAR OF TALKING
Neighbors left their houses when they saw the two vehicles arrive with the men dressed in special suits.
Some took out their mobile phones to record the scene, while others chose to lock themselves in their houses, or ask other people not to record.
And it is that fear is latent in Nicaragua as a result of a socio-political crisis that erupted in April 2018 and fractured the Central American country in two, the second most impoverished in America, second only to Haiti.
"What happened there?" Efe asked the driver of a "caponera", as tricycles are called motorcycle taxis in Nicaragua, when he saw that people were looking towards the same place.
"Another died from that virus. I do not know what people are scared of, if it will give us all," he explained.
The two vehicles rushed out of the house toward the cemetery, including the van in which the coffin was moved.
CHINANDEGA, IN THE EYE OF THE COVID-19
Prior to this "express burial", Efe confirmed how health workers disinfected a health center and the departmental hospital of Spain, where dozens of people were also waiting outside.
Chinandega is, after Managua, the department (province) that registers the highest incidence of suspected cases of COVID-19, including medical personnel.
In that city, located 149 kilometers northwest of Managua and whose temperature at this time of year exceeds 35 degrees Celsius and with a sensation of heat greater than 40 degrees, most houses keep their doors closed.
The streets, the markets and the churches look half empty. The majority of people who walk on the street wear masks and resist giving information.
"Where are you from?" They ask, suspiciously. And it is that the strategic places of the health crisis, such as hospitals and cemeteries, you see the presence of the followers of the Government, which until now continues to deny or minimize the pandemic.
The independent Citizen Observatory, which independently locates cases of COVID-19 not recognized by the authorities, has advocated for an alert to be declared in that province because they report 106 people affected, 40 deaths from pneumonia and suspects of COVID-19 and 23 health workers with symptoms.
The Observatory registers 233 deaths and 1,270 suspected cases of COVID-19 in Nicaragua, whose government recognizes only 25 and eight deaths, since the pandemic officially entered the country in mid-March.
The Executive has been criticized by various sectors for promoting massive events and crowds against the current recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO), and for not establishing restrictions or suspending classes in the midst of the pandemic.
President Daniel Ortega has declared himself against the "Stay at home" campaign because, in his opinion, it would destroy the local economy, which has contracted in the last two years and is largely informal.