July 12, 2020

Brazil surpasses Spain in death toll from COVID-19



Brazil on Friday exceeded 27,800 deaths from the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and overtook Spain in total number of deaths, a figure that reflects the worsening of the disease at a time when some states are preparing for the gradual reopening of the economy.

According to the official balance of the Ministry of Health, Brazil has become the fifth country in the world with more deaths from the disease, ahead of Spain, whose total population is similar to that of the state of Sao Paulo, and remains second in number of infected, behind the United States, after reaching a new record of daily cases today.

But the accelerated rate of contagion, which is still on an upward curve in the country, did not prevent some states and municipalities from relaxing their isolation measures and starting a reopening of some sectors of the economy in recent weeks.

In Sao Paulo, the richest and most populous state in Brazil with some 46 million inhabitants, Governor Joao Doria has already announced the gradual resumption of some activities and services starting next Monday, despite the fact that the region concentrates the largest number of cases (more than 101,000) and deaths (7,275) in the country.

While, in Rio de Janeiro, the second state most hit by the pandemic and which today exceeded the barrier of 5,000 deaths, Governor Wilson Witzel studies a relaxation of the containment measures already in the coming days.

However, experts warn that most states have not yet met the three fundamental criteria to initiate safe de-escalation, which are the availability of intensive care beds in hospitals, the drop or stability in the number of cases and the carrying out massive tests in the population.

On the contrary, “the reality is that intensive care units are quite full and there are no indications that cases are falling. Furthermore, we have record after record of cases and deaths and very few tests,” the coordinator told Efe. from the Nucleus of Operations and Health Intelligence of the PUC-RIO University, Silvio Hamacher.

THE INEQUALITIES OF THE PANDEMIC

Despite the fact that the coronavirus is already present in all 27 Brazilian states, the pandemic does not affect equally the various regions of a country with continental dimensions, some 210 million inhabitants and the second in the world with the highest concentration of income.

Both in the city of Sao Paulo and in Rio de Janeiro, epicenters of the pandemic, the peripheral and humbler areas top the list of regions with the most cases and deaths from COVID-19.

In the capital of São Paulo, ten of the most humble neighborhoods account for nearly half of the deaths, according to data from the Mayor’s Office, while in Rio de Janeiro the coronavirus spreads rapidly through the favelas, the depressed communities where the poorest live. .

The pandemic has also wreaked havoc in the impoverished Northeast region, the second most plagued in the country and which could become the new epicenter of the disease, with more than 156,000 infected and 8,300 deaths, as well as in the North, which accounts for some 100,000 cases and more than 5,500 deaths.

The figures contrast with those of the wealthy southern region, which has 21,000 infected and 520 deaths, and the center-west, the area least hit by COVID-19, with some 15,500 cases and 347 deaths.

Already among indigenous communities, one of the populations most vulnerable to coronavirus, there are more than 1,100 infected and 45 deaths in rural areas of the country alone, although the death toll rises to 147 if indigenous people living in areas are considered. urban.

THE PANDEMIC DROPS THE LARGEST ECONOMY IN SOUTH AMERICA

In the midst of the biggest health emergency of the last century, Brazil is also getting ready for the biggest recession in its history, whose impacts are already beginning to be felt in the largest economy in South America, which contracted by 1.5% between January and March.

For the second quarter, the Government of Jair Bolsonaro expects an even greater collapse, when the country will fully feel the effects of the stoppage of activities by COVID-19, and projects a 4.7% retraction in 2020, an optimistic index with compared to the 5.89% drop that economists estimate.

Likewise, the GDP of the second quarter should be impacted by a greater drop in household consumption, since, according to official data, the pandemic has already left five million Brazilians without jobs.

According to the state-owned Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), unemployment in the South American giant rose to 12.6% in April due to the pandemic, equivalent to 12.8 million unemployed, while the occupied population fell to 89.2 million.

Nayara Batschke

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