- Brazil has more cases than any country except the U.S.;
- A projection made by the PAHO says that Brazil will account for 88,300 deaths by August 4th;
- There’s no sign of peak in Mexico yet, says a UBS analysis.
Considered recently the new epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic, Latin America is now home to almost 40% of daily deaths in the world. According to Bloomberg, bad news comes from many corners of the region: Brazil has more cases than any country except the U.S. and deaths, currently at 25,000, could more than quadruple in coming months. Mexico had its largest single increase in both cases and deaths this week. Peru, Chile and Colombia have set daily records in the past week.
A projection made by the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) forecasts that Brazil will account for 88,300 deaths by August this year.
“In South America, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Ecuador and Venezuela continue to increase [the numbers of daily cases and deaths]. Bolivia and Paraguay show a small decrease. But in Brazil, the model reports that the daily deaths show an exponential increase, reaching 88,300 deaths on August 4th”, said Carissa Etienne, director of PAHO, .
Latin America has recently overtaken Europe and the United States in daily infections. And figures are smaller than the reality, as underreporting is common in many countries of the region.
“In South America, we are especially concerned with the number of new cases recorded during the past week in Brazil, which was the highest during a seven-day period since the outbreak began. Peru and Chile also recorded a high incidence, a sign that transmission is still accelerating in these countries,” he said.
No sign of peak in Mexico and 21 Brazilian states
A UBS report published on Wednesday said that six of Brazil’s 27 states are peaking while total deaths are increasing in 21 states. There’s no sign of any peak in Mexico yet, the analysts wrote.
According to Carissa, for most countries in the Americas, this is not the time to relax restrictions and reduce prevention strategies. “It is time to remain strong, vigilant and to aggressively implement proven public health measures. The lives and well-being of millions of people in our region depend on it.”
The deputy director of PAHO, Jarbas Barbosa, highlighted the trajectory of propagation of the new coronavirus, starting in Asia and spreading through Europe and North America, and later arriving in Latin America.
“The Latin American countries had a period of preparation, and this was very important, as many countries implemented their plans and adopted measures of social distance, which delayed transmission. But, now, we have a very strong transmission and, therefore, it is necessary to draw the attention of all ministries of health, to evaluate the effectiveness of the measures they are adopting. We are going to have tough weeks ahead”, said the deputy director.
Economic forecasts are dire. The region is expected to contract 5.2% this year, the deepest recession in 50 years, according to the International Monetary Fund. April’s reports from the World Bank and the UN predict a fall of -4.6% and -5.3% in Latin America’s GDP this year.