At least 23,600 Brazilians are currently waiting for their Covid-19 test results, according to the Health Ministry. As the backlog is 3.5 times higher than the number of confirmed cases, the figures raise a red flag about potential underreporting in the country.
Though 17 test methods have been greenlit by the Brazilian Sanitary Surveillance Agency (Anvisa), local governments are still struggling to keep track of the virus. With over 16,000 Covid-19 exams currently under analysis, São Paulo can only test up to 400 people a day. In states such as Ceará, results can take up to 17 days to be released, while in Rio de Janeiro, the government estimates that only one out of 50 cases gets confirmed.
On Wednesday, Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta warned that Brazil should expect a major increase in the number of confirmed cases as the country develops more effective testing methods. “Testing is still clogged,” Mr. Mandetta said. “The number of confirmed cases is much lower than that of actual cases, but the number of confirmed cases will begin to rise starting this week.”
A CNN Brasil report suggests São Paulo state authorities have sent out guidelines to healthcare units telling them not to report all cases of acute respiratory distress syndrome.