Around the world, there is much uncertainty about the true mortality rate of Covid-19. Rates vary enormously from country to country, mainly due to the fact that infection numbers are inevitably under-reported. In Brazil, Health Minister Nelson Teich has already admitted that the country is “flying blind” through the crisis and that authorities have no idea of the percentage of citizens who have been affected by the virus. There are some figures that provide a useful illustration as to the extent of the under-reporting: cases of acute respiratory distress syndrome have skyrocketed in the country, suggesting that many of these patients may be suffering from Covid-19 instead.
This, and the fact that a significant portion of those infected with the coronavirus remains symptomless, has led experts to estimate that Brazil’s true number of cases is over 4.2 million, instead of the official government figure of under 150,000. Inconsistency in reporting among states and municipalities is another problematic factor — the southeastern state of Minas Gerais is a prime example.