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⚠️ URGENT: Brazil tops 1 million coronavirus cases

and . Jun 19, 2020
1 million NGO Sou da Paz stages a protest in Rio de Janeiro to pay homage to the victims of Covid-19. Photo: Jorge hely veiga NGO Sou da Paz stages a protest in Rio de Janeiro to pay homage to the victims of Covid-19. Photo: Jorge hely veiga

Brazil topped the tragic mark of 1 million coronavirus cases this afternoon. According to a consortium of mainstream media outlets — which banded together to monitor the spread after the federal government began tampering with official data — there are now 1,009,699 confirmed cases and 48,427 recorded deaths in the country. 

However, the real numbers are almost certainly higher and official figures have been compromised by system glitches, causing underreporting in several states this week. “Brazil is testing far less than it should. At best, 20 times less than is what is considered adequate,” Daniel Lahr, a professor at the Biosciences Institute at the University of São Paulo told news website G1. 

And while the government claims that the curve is plateauing, this horrific tragedy is far from over. Despite underreporting, the number of cases and deaths continues on an upwards trend.

Breaking down the outbreak per region

North. The Amazon region has the fewest beds and the highest rate of intensive care unit occupancy in the country. It is averaging around 5,611 new cases per day and the virus is spreading to the most remote parts of the region.

Northeast. Brazil’s poorest region has also been badly hit and the virus has made its way to the smaller cities and towns of the arid Sertão region.

Center-West. The country’s Center-West region — which has a predominantly agricultural economy — is the latest to see its curve rise at an alarming rate. On June 14 the average of new cases per day was 1,630; on June 18, 2,482 new cases were recorded. 

Southeast. The richest and most populous region of Brazil was the first region to record coronavirus cases. The city of São Paulo remains the worst-hit city in the country. The average number of cases per day over the last week is 7,887. Despite the curve being nowhere near flattening, the region’s cities have opened up for business again.

South. There are two branches of thought about the Covid-19 situation in the South: one believes that the peak has already passed, while the other suggests the curve is still rising. Given the fact that some governors are deliberately withholding data and under-testing, it is up to the reader’s imagination to decide what is in fact taking place.

Coronavirus cases reach 82 percent of Brazilian cities

The Covid-19 pandemic has reached at least 82.4 percent of Brazil’s 5,570 cities, as of June 13, according to a new Health Ministry report. And at least 38.9 percent of cities have confirmed Covid-19 deaths.

Among the cities with confirmed Covid-19 cases, 70.3 percent recorded low numbers of infections with cases ranging from two to 100. One hundred and twenty-eight municipalities, however, have already surpassed the 1,000-case mark.

The report also shows an increase in Covid-19 cases in the Brazilian countryside as the coronavirus moves further inland. The tally of Covid-19 cases has steadily increased in smaller cities of Brazil’s vast interior, accounting for 59 percent of the country’s cases compared to 41 percent in the most populous areas.

The percentage of confirmed deaths in the interior of Brazil’s states (48) is also set to overtake metropolitan areas (52) soon, indicating that the second wave of cases will ravage the countryside. However, official Health Ministry coronavirus figures have been compromised recently due to glitches in reporting in many cities and the government’s recent attempts to hide Covid-19 data from public scrutiny.

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Rafael Lima

Rafael is a Communication student at Wake Forest University, and a student fellow of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

Benjamin Fogel

Benjamin Fogel is a Ph.D. candidate in Latin American History at New York University and a Contributing Editor to Jacobin Magazine.

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