Tests for Covid-19
Laboratory of the Oswaldo Cruz Institute. Photo: Josue Damacena/Fiocruz Imagens

Brazil is the second country with the most confirmed cases of COVID-19

To date, there are 339,687 cases and 21,579 deaths in the country

Figures collected by the G1 news portal directly with the state health departments show that, on Saturday, Brazil became the second country with the most confirmed cases of COVID-19. To date, there are 339,687 cases and 21,579 deaths in the country.

A day before, the director of the World Health Organization (WHO) emergency program, Michael Ryan, declared that South America has become the new epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, and Brazil as the epicenter in the region.

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The number of deaths in Brazil, in relation to the number of its inhabitants, is less than that of European countries such as Belgium, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Italy. But higher than other South American countries, such as Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Paraguay.

The organization was asked if it was offering any type of direct assistance to Brazil, which registered a record daily deaths on Thursday (21), with 1,188 deaths in 24 hours, according to a balance sheet by the Ministry of Health. More than 20,000 people have already died in the country of COVID-19.

Ryan said that his “colleagues are providing direct assistance to the states affected”by the disease. He highlighted not only Sao Paulo, the epicentre of COVID-19 in the country, but states like Amazonas, which has a high infection rate, with around 419 per 100,000 inhabitants.

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“We have seen many South American countries with an increasing number of cases, and, clearly, there’s a concern across many of those countries, but certainly the most affected is Brazil at this point. We also noted that the government in Brazil has approved the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for broader use, mas we do point to the fact that our currently and systematically reviews carried for our Pan American Organization, and the current clinical evidence does not support the widespread use of these drugs for the treatment of COVID-19,” said Ryan.

A new study published by the medical journal The Lancet, with nearly 15,000 COVID-19 patients, found that those being treated with these drugs are at a higher risk of death and irregular heart rhythms than those not receiving it.

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Health of Brazil released a document that guides the use of hydroxychloroquine in the country in patients infected with COVID-19. This Thursday (21), a new version was edited with the signature of health secretaries the Ministry.

The change in the protocol was the wish of President Jair Bolsonaro, a defender of chloroquine in the treatment of the disease. Other international studies have also found no efficacy in the medicine and the Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases does not recommend its use.