The emergency in Brazil
The most critical situation is that of Brazil, which for the third consecutive day recorded the highest number of deaths (1,156) and infections (26,417), becoming the second country in the world most infected with coronavirus, behind the United States. In the country, considered the main new outbreak, the emergency has become the control of the epidemic.
For scientists, the official data – 438,238 positive and 26,754 deaths – could be up to 15 times lower than reality, as systematic tests are not carried out. In the state of Sao Paulo, the worst hit with 100,000 infections and 6,980 deathshospitals have reached saturation point, but its governor has decided to gradually restart all economic activities starting on Monday.
The state of Rio de Janeiro is the second in terms of victims (4,846) and infections (44,886), but the situation is also rapidly deteriorating in the states of Amazonas and Para (north) and in Ceara (north-east).
The numbers of the other countries
Peru, the third country in South America most affected by Covid behind Mexico (more than 9 thousand deaths), has exceeded the threshold of 4 thousand deaths and more than 141 thousand positive cases for a population of 33 million. Hospitals are already collapsing and the economy is almost completely paralyzed.
“If we had not implemented the quarantine, according to estimates, we would already have 83,000 dead,” said the prime minister, Vicente Zeballos. Record number of deaths in 24 hours in Chile, in all 49, for a total of 890 victims from Covid since the beginning of the health crisis is 86,949 sick.
In Santiago, 18 million inhabitants, 80% of national infections are concentrated, which is why the authorities have decided to extend the lockdown in force since 16 May for a week. “Compliance with the confinement measures has not been satisfactory in the metropolitan region of the capital” deplored the Minister of Health, Jaime Manalich.
At the moment, the occupancy rate of the beds in the capital’s intensive care units is close to 90%, making people fear the worst for the next few weeks. Equally worrying are the economic repercussions of the epidemic, with a sharp increase in the number of unemployed in recent weeks, now 10% of the population.
In the midst of a pandemic, tensions rise in some regions of Mexico after the spread of videos and fake news on social media that claim that “the virus does not exist”, relaunching the news of the killing of a drone that was spreading a white powder harmful to the lungs.
In Venustiano Carranza, the indigenous village of Chiapas (south), the municipality and several buildings were stormed by the locals in response to an alleged “chemical attack” against the Tzotzil ethnic group. Since the beginning of the epidemic, other episodes of violence have already occurred in the states of Michoaca’n (west) and Oaxaca (south) during sanitation interventions.
In Bolivia, the government has instead decided to ease total confinement, in force since March: from Monday it will be possible to circulate between 5 and 18 and some economic activities will reopen on a regional basis. To date, there are 7,768 cases of Covid and 280 deaths, concentrated in the Santa Cruz region.
To launch the alarm of famine and poverty for all of South America and the Caribbean are Unicef and Save the Children, which foresee another 16 million children forced to live in poverty by the end of the year if the governments do not have to intervene with decisive measures to support the economy.
In recent days Human Rights Watch (HRW) had warned that Venezuela’s health system it is not ready to face the pandemic, posing a danger for its population and for the entire region. The official tally of 1,211 positives and 11 deaths released by the government of Nicolas Maduro is increasingly being questioned.
“The situation in the country is such that people risk running away, weighing on the health of neighbors and endangering regional health”, stressed the NGO. The President of Colombia, Ivan Dunque, called Venezuela’s situation a “time bomb”.