March 08, 21 - 10:01 am - LABS

Brazilian states near health collapse due to COVID-19 surge

On Sunday, 1,054 COVID-19 deaths were recorded in Brazil. The moving average, which compiles the number of deaths in the last seven days, reached 1,497, according to data gathered by the consortium of press outlets.

It is the ninth consecutive day that Brazil has set a record in this regard, according to O Estado de São Paulo. In 2020, at the worst moment of the pandemic in Brazil, the record moving average was 1,096 deaths, reached in July. In the same period, there was a peak of daily cases that year, 46,000.

This record in March 2021 exceeds 60,000 contaminated every 24 hours, and projections indicate worsening throughout the month, according to O Globo.

What is the aftermath? There is strong pressure on health systems across Brazil. In the states of Mato Grosso do Sul and Santa Catarina there are infected with COVID-19 awaiting an ICU bed, said Folha de São Paulo and Poder360.

Why is Covid-19 worse in Latin America than Africa and Asia?

The COVID-19 death toll has been lower in Africa and Asia than Europe or the U.S, besides emerging countries in Latin America (see graph below by The New York Times). According to Expansión, in Mexico – the Latin America’s country with the worst position in the chart – the first week of March accumulates 41,662 cases of COVID-19 and 190,604 deaths.

Chart by The New York Times | Sources: Health agencies and hospitals, World Bank

According to The New York Times, one explanation for why Covid toll is lower across much of Africa and Asia is that daily life tends to better ventilated in warmer, lower-income countries.

In these emerging countries, people spend more time outdoors, and windows are often open. In better ventilated environment, Covid is less likely to spread, says The New York Times. But why in Latin America deaths are higher than in Africa and Asia?

According to Reuters, one suggestion is that if previous coronaviruses spread more widely in some countries, people’s immune systems may be better prepared for it. Still, there’s a lot to find out about it.