Brazil: Covid-19 cases increase considerably in Brazil

The covid-19 cases fired again in recent days in Brazil, due to the Christmas festivities and the advance of the omicron variant, and also to the updating of the data after a cyberattack against the Ministry of Health.

The ministry counted in its last bulletin on Tuesday 18,759 new cases in the last 24 hours, worst daily figure since October 5, when 20,528 cases were registered, according to data compiled by AFP.

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In addition, the moving average of cases in the last seven days was 9,876, compared to 5,033 the previous Tuesday and 3,386 two weeks ago.

Data from Abrafarma, an association that groups together the main pharmacy chains in Brazil, also reveals that the percentage of rapid tests with positive results over the total of those carried out went from just over 5% at the beginning of December to 27% last Sunday.

As the epidemiologist Ethel Maciel, from the Federal University of Espírito Santo (Ufes) explained to AFP, the Christmas and New Year holidays and thevance of the omicron variant “contributed a lot” to increase in cases in Brazil.

In Brazil, 170 cases of omicron and 518 under investigation have been confirmed.

Due to concern about this variant, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro decided on Tuesday to cancel the street parades that are held in parallel to the carnival, scheduled from February 25 to March 1.

“We are going to have a growth of the omicron variant as in all countries, the problem is that here we do little genomic surveillance and few tests”, explains Maciel.

According to her, this is related to the recent spread in Brazil of the H3N2 influenza, a flu with mild symptoms, easily confused with omicron symptoms, which leads many “to think that they do not need to be tested.”

The expert also attributes the increase in cases to “the repressed data, which is entering now,” as a consequence of the cyberattack on December 10 that disabled the website of the Ministry of Health and affected the notification of cases and deaths from covid-19.

According to the authorities, the increase in infections has not so far been accompanied, as in previous waves, by an abrupt upturn in hospitalizations and deaths.

In the second country most mourned by the virus, with almost 620,000 deaths, the number of deaths per day has been in uninterrupted fall since June thanks to the rapid advance of vaccination: 67% of the 213 million inhabitants are vaccinated with two doses and a 12% received a booster.

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