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Anales de la Facultad de Ciencias Médicas (Asunción)

versión impresa ISSN 1816-8949

An. Fac. Cienc. Méd. (Asunción) vol.53 no.1 Asunción abr. 2020 


Considerations about the covid-19 pandemic

Laurentino Barrios Monges1 

1Universidad Nacional de Asunción, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas. Asunción, Paraguay.

We are currently facing challenging circumstances for global public health, which it had not happened in a long time and which means an unique situation not only for medical science, but also for the entire world: the world will not be the same after this pandemic.

In regards, we are facing a new type of virus, the seventh in the coronavirus family 1. The current outbreak originated in the city of Wuhan, Hubei region of China 2. This coronavirus was currently designated by the World Health Organization (WHO) as SARS-CoV-2 3. The WHO has defined that the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak has become a pandemic on March 11 of this year 4.

Considering the current pandemic, we shall bear in mind more than ever the prevention techniques that we have known for more than a century, but that until now have been difficult to share with the general public and that even we, as medical professionals, find sometimes difficult to maintain, but that does not mean that it loses its crucial importance. Hand washing, proposed from the outset to decrease cases of various infections, takes now on new meaning in a global effort of the humanity against an invisible enemy.

We shall not ignore the efforts of the countries in reducing contagion. Some of the most industrialized countries in the world have stopped or minimized their economies 5, have imposed policies of compulsory isolation and have seen the need to resort to methods that had not been used, in some of them, by some of the war periods of the last century. These situations not only have their political and economic implications, but also represent a new stressor for a large number of the population. We are not all prepared to spend weeks locked up. This implies considering the need to provide mental health and home care services more than ever to large sectors of the population.

Our country is not the exception. Even though our health system is precarious, we have seen a full intersectoral cooperation and the commitment of different sectors - public and private - in the national effort against the virus. We must not fall into promoting stigma against our nationals who become infected. They were not to blame for this nor should we encourage expressions that marginalize this population.

Our Hospital de Clínicas has been prepared to face this challenge. We have designed patient-care protocols through a contingency system for users with respiratory symptoms. The different services have been prepared to provide support to patients, considering the perspectives of each specialty. The National University of Asuncion has contacted the national health authorities to offer the infrastructure and professional capacity of the Health Sciences Research Institute (IICS) to process samples from suspected cases.

We do not know what this pandemic holds for us, but we shall always pursue to maintain scientific rigor and constant collaboration between the entities that provide health services. We have already gone through similar situations in the past, let us maintain preventive measures and prepare ourselves for the challenges that await us later.


1. Corman V, Landt O, Kaiser M, Molenkamp R, Meijer A, Chu D. Detection of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) by real-time RT-PCR. Eurosurveillance;. 2020; Available from: ]

2. Chen N, Zhou M, Dong X, Qu J, Gong F, Han Y. Epidemiological and clinical characteristics of 99 cases of 2019 novel coronavirus pneumonia in Wuhan, China: a descriptive study. Lancet;. 2020 Jan 30; Available from: ]

3. WHO. Naming the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the virus that causes it. WHO. 2020 mar. Available from: ]

4. CNN. WHO declares novel coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. 2020 Mar 23. Available from: ]

5. Business Insider. China locks down millions to contain coronavirus. Do quarantines work? - Business Insider. 2020 Jan 29. Available from: [ Links ]

Received: March 23, 2020; Accepted: March 25, 2020

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