The number of deaths caused by Covid-19 has doubled every 5 days in Brazil, on average. In the United States and in Ecuador, countries with high dissemination rates, the interval necessary for this duplication is an average of 6 days. In Italy and in Spain, 8 days.
This is one of the figures released by the most recent technical paper of MonitoraCovid-19, a system that groups and provides data on the pandemic of the new coronavirus in Brazil. Epidemiologists, geographers and statistitians of the Institute of Scientific and Technological Communication and Information in Health (Icict/Fiocruz) have been using this tool to elaborate analysis on the advancement of the disease.
Observing the daily growth of Covid-19 cases in the weeks between March 29 and April 4; April 5 and April 11; and April 12 and April 16, scientists say that the pandemic continues with its high growth of cases in the Northern region, in particular in the state of Rondônia, and in the North-East, where the states of Piauí, Alagoas and Ceará have been particularly affected. The situation in the states of Pará, Amapá, Maranhão and Pernambuco is also worrying, as they continue to show a trend of accelerated growth in the number of cases.
On the other hand, there has been an apparent deceleration trend on the growth of number of cases in many states in the country, especially in the South-East and South regions. This deceleration is related to social isolation measures, “as comparison with other countries shows a similar behaviour in many parts of the world.” However, the number of cases is even more inaccurate than the number of deaths.
“Death data are more reliable than the number of cases when it comes to measuring the spreading of the epidemic”, clarifies epidemiologist Diego Xavier, a researcher at the Laboratory of Information in Health of Icict/Fiocruz. “This is because even when the disease was not diagnosed during the patient’s clinical evolution, it can still be investigated. In addition, the clinical situation of a patient who dies is more evident when compared with cases that can be mild or asymptomatic”.
The technical paper also warns of the inland expansion of the epidemic, which is quickly reaching smaller municipalities in the country. All municipalities with more than 500,000 inhabitants already have cases of Covid-19. 59.6% of municipalities with 50,000 to 100,000 inhabitants also have cases. 28.8% of municipalities with populations between 20,000 and 50.000 and those with a population ranging from 10,000 to 20,000, as well as 4.1% of those with up to 10,000 inhabitants, have cases of Covid-19.
“There are two very concerning aspects of the dissemination of the disease in Brazil. Firstly, the slow recovery associated to a high contamination rate has kept beds in large cities occupied, and may result in the collapse of the health system in these cities. Secondly, as the disease moves inland and hits smaller cities, the demand for more specialized health services, such as ICUs and ventilators, also rises. But most of these smaller towns have no such health resources, which means they will be forced to send their patients to larger cities, which already have less beds, equipment and healthcare personnel than they need”, warns Xavier.