Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) officials addressed the Covid-19 crisis in Brazil at Wednesday’s virtual press briefing. PAHO Director Dr. Carissa Etienne called it a “cautionary tale that keeping this virus under control requires continuous attention by public health authorities and leaders to protect people and health systems alike” from the effects of the virus.
She said Brazil is now reporting the highest number of new infections in the region and the second highest daily death toll from the virus, in the world – with several areas of the country witnessing a record high number of infections and hospital beds that are nearly at capacity across more than half of Brazilian states
PAHO Incident Manager Dr. Sylvain Aldighieri said the situation in Brazil is the result of an increased transmission during the holiday period and later, Carnival. Two weeks after Christmas and two weeks after Carnival, spikes in cases were recorded.
“I’d like to highlight that during these two periods, the implementation of public health measures in Brazil was suboptimal in most of the territory.”
As of today, he said, transmission in Brazil is “very high” in all regions and is increasing at the same time in all regions. “This is the difference compared to the 2020 pandemic wave, what we have now- this simultaneous increase in all the regions of Brazil.”
Aldighieri cited Brazilian health ministry data saying as of Tuesday, all 27 of Brazil’s states plus the federal district were reporting an ICU occupancy rate of more than 75%, and 20 of the 27 were reporting more than 85% occupancy.