SAO PAULO – Brazil’s government confirmed on Friday that the country has grown above 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases, second only to the United States.
The country’s health ministry said the total stood at 1,032,913, up more than 50,000 from Thursday. The department said the large increase was due to corrections from previous days underreported numbers.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro further downplays the risks of the virus after nearly 50,000 deaths from COVID-19 within three months, saying: the social impact of isolation measures on the economy could be worse than the disease it -even.
Experts estimate that the actual number of cases in Brazil could be up to seven times higher than the official statistical data. Johns Hopkins University says Brazil is running an average of 14 tests per 100,000 people each day, and health experts say that number is up to 20 times less than what is needed to follow the virus.
Official data shows a downward trend in the virus in northern Brazil, including the hard-hitting Amazon region, a plateau of cases and deaths in the largest cities near the Atlantic coast , but an ascending curve in the south.
In Brazil, the countryside, which is much less well prepared to handle a crisis, the pandemic is clearly growing. Many smaller, weaker cities have basic health and sanitation systems that are insufficient to prevent contagion.
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“There is a lot of regional disparity in our public health system and the shortage of interior professionals,” said Miguel Lago, executive director of Brazil, of the Institute for Health Political Studies, which advises public health officials. “Who creates a lot of desolate healthcare, with people living long distances to get attention. When they leave the hospital, the virus can go with them. ”
Livestock, the state’s output of Mato Grosso, was barely affected by the virus when it hit the nation’s largest city in March. Sitting far from the coast, between the Bolivian border and the Brazilian capital, Brasilia, its 3.3 million inhabitants led a mostly normal life until May. But now its residents are locked up and the meat producers have dozens of infected workers.
In Tangará da Serra, a town of 103,000 people in Mato Grosso state, the mayor decided on Friday to ban the sale of alcoholic beverages for two weeks as an incentive for people to stay at home. Fábio Junqueira said that the measure was necessary after a spike in COVID-19 case that filled 80% of the city’s 54 intensive care beds. The city has had nearly 300 cases of the disease, in addition to three deaths.
In Rondonópolis, just 300 km from Tangará da Serra and the booming economy, health authorities, the premises of the meatpacking industry were closed after 92 cases were confirmed there. The city of 144,000 residents counted 21 deaths from the virus and more than 600 cases. The mayor also decided to limit the sale of alcoholic beverages.
Even regions once seen as successful examples of efforts to fight the virus are now in trouble.
Porto Alegre, home to about 1.4 million people, has had success in slowing the activity of the virus, spread over the past three months. But now his mayor is considering an increase in social isolation from intensive care measures after the city’s occupation jumped 80 percent this month.
“We were already doing screenings for schools to come back, City Mayor Nelson Marchezan Jr told The Associated Press. “Now the trend is to impose more restrictions.”
From Sao Paulo city, five regions of the campaign state will have to close stores from Monday due to an increase in cases of coronavirus. Govt. João Doria announced Friday’s decision.
Dr. Mike Ryan, the World Health Organization chief executive, said at a press conference that Brazil needs to do more to stop the spread of infections.
“The epidemic is still quite serious in Brazil. I believe that healthcare workers work very hard and under pressure to be able to cope with the number of cases they see on a daily basis, “said Ryan. “Admittedly, the rise is not as exponential as it was before, so there are some signs that the situation is stabilizing. But we have seen this in other epidemics in other countries. “
Margareth Dalcolmo, a clinical researcher and professor of respiratory medicine at the state funded by Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Rio de Janeiro, considers that the reopening in major cities and viruses of road travel in Brazil from the heart of the permettra maintain pressure on the country’s health system.
“The risk inside now is very great,” she said. “Our fair health system cannot resolve the most serious cases of COVID in many places in the countryside.”