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Outbreak of covid-19 in the Americas is far from over, say scientists

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red cross (Photo: Reuters / José Luis Gonzales / Rights Reserved)

While in several European countries the charts that follow the evolution of the covid-19 pandemic demonstrate a control of the disease, at least temporary, in Latin America, a study by the Observatório Fluminense Covid-19 (https://www.covid19rj.org) points out that the moment is for an increase in the number of cases and deaths or a stabilization at very high levels in the continent.

Of the 15 countries in Latin America analyzed by the project (not included in the monitoring of the group El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua), the graph called traffic light indicates that only Cuba and Uruguay are in the green indicator, which means that the country is “Beating” the epidemic in terms of the number of registered cases per week. In the metric by number of deaths per week, Paraguay also goes green.

They are in yellow, which indicates “almost there” in the face of the pandemic, Chile, Ecuador and Paraguay for new cases per week and only Ecuador for the number of deaths. All others are in the red for both measures, that is, they “need to act” to control the spread of the new coronavirus.

Graph of new cases of covid-19 in Latin America - Covid Observatório Fluminense (Photo:)

Graph of new cases of covid-19 in Latin America – Covid Observatório Fluminense

Epidemiological curve
The Covid-19 Fluminense Observatory is made up of scientists and students from seven teaching and research institutions, including the State University of Rio de Janeiro (Uerj), the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and the Federal Fluminense University ( UFF).

A member of the project, Professor Americo Cunha, from the Institute of Mathematics and Statistics at Uerj, highlights that the graph indicates a pandemic trend and the color changes according to the design formed by the epidemiological curve.

“We classify the situation in red, yellow or green according to the shape of the graph. When the epidemic passes, the curve follows a pattern: it rises, passes through a plateau and then descends. It is not the same for all countries, it can be tilted more left or right, the slower or faster ascent. If you look at the curve in Cuba, for example, it already has this closed shape. Ecuador is in yellow because it went up, down, up and is parked on a level still relatively high ”.

The number of cases per million inhabitants varies widely in the region, ranging from 212 in Cuba and in the range of 280 in Uruguay and Venezuela, to 15,800 in Chile. Panama and Peru are in the range of 9,500 per million and Brazil at 8,000 per million.

In number of deaths, Venezuela and Paraguay register three deaths per million, Costa Rica has five and Cuba and Uruguay have eight deaths per million inhabitants. At the opposite end, Chile, Peru and Brazil are over 300 deaths per million. The data were consolidated on Wednesday (8).

Graph of deaths by covid-19 in Latin America - Covid Observatório Fluminense (Photo:)

Graph of deaths by covid-19 in Latin America – Covid Observatório Fluminense

Internal epidemics
Cunha explains that Latin America has countries of very different sizes, so it is limited to make a comprehensive analysis from an epidemiological point of view. According to him, the global metrics of each country must be taken into account as an average of internal epidemics.

“Each country has more than a single epidemic going on. Brazil itself has hundreds of epidemics, each with its own course, some where it is already running out, others still accelerating. The same scenario is taking place in Latin America in different countries. But in very small countries, in Central America, in Uruguay, the country’s global number is a good thermometer of the local situation ”.

Fiocruz
The latest bulletin from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation’s Center for International Health Relations (Cris-Fiocruz) on the Global Response Panorama to Covid-19 (), released on Tuesday (7), highlights that the Americas are the current epicenter of pandemic and concentrate more than half of the deaths and cases in the world, led, by far, by the United States and Brazil, the only countries that reached the million infected people.

The planet surpasses 12 million confirmed cases of covid-19 and 556 thousand deaths, with the United States exceeding 3 million cases and 133 thousand deaths. Brazil has 1.8 million cases and exceeded 70 thousand deaths, which corresponds to a crowded Maracanã stadium.

Regarding Latin America, the bulletin warns that the spread of the disease remains intense in Central America, with a slightly better situation in the Caribbean islands and highlights that the early measures adopted at the beginning of the continent’s pandemic helped to prevent a greater tragedy, although in the moment the pressure for reopening is high.

“Maintaining these measures has not been easy, mainly due to their economic and social impact. Governments are now under pressure to ease restrictions for economic and political reasons, even as transmission increases. In this sense, the situation in Colombia is impressive ”, informs the document.

The data from the Observatório Fluminense indicate that Colombia has an increasing curve in the number of cases and deaths by covid-19. In Mexico, the third country with the most deaths on the American continent, the Cris-Fiocruz report highlights the covid-19 mortality rate among children is three times higher than in the United States, while the capital, Mexico City, plans to reopen .

In Peru, the national blockade has been lifted and quarantine is now in the most affected regions while Uruguay has reopened schools.

Cris-Fiocruz’s analysis points out that the outbreak in the Americas may remain peaking for the next two years.

“In the absence of effective treatments or a widely available vaccine, the region of the Americas is expected to experience recurrent outbreaks of covid-19 over the next two years, which can be interspersed with periods of limited transmission. In this sense, everyone has to adapt to the new way of life and redefine our sense of normality ”.

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