A study by the Brazilian Association of Intensive Medicine shows that only one-third of Covid-19 patients who require the assistance of ventilators survive. The findings are based on data from 450 hospitals between March 1 and May 15. Intubated patients are, by definition, the most severe cases, when the lungs are simply too debilitated to function on their own. Mortality rates among those on breathing support are higher around the world, but the disparity is even greater in Brazil.
In the United Kingdom, mortality rates among intubated patients reach 42 percent. In the Netherlands, it is 44 percent. Among Brazilian patients, however, the rate reaches 66 percent. “It is not a little flu,” said physician Ederlon Rezende, in a reference to President Jair Bolsonaro’s reiterated dismissals of the severity of Covid-19.
Experts say that the actual rates could be much worse, as better-structured hospitals tend to be the ones which take part in such studies — in these facilities, death rates are naturally lower.
A similar study in New York, published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association, came up with an 88-percent death rate among patients on ventilators. Non-profit journalism organization Poynter, however, presented many caveats to the number: “831 patients remained in the hospital and were excluded from the calculation. That’s more than 72 percent of all the patients involved in the study. So for the vast majority of patients studied, the jury is still out on whether they will recover.”Support this coverage →