The coronavirus does not give truce in the Americas with new records

The Americas remain the epicenter of the coronavirus, with more than 10 million cases out of 19 globally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), with Brazil on the verge of 100,000 deaths and Mexico over 50,000, just under 160,000 in the United States.

The coronavirus does not give truce in America with new records. Photo: Joanna Dubaj / Publicdomainpictures.net
The coronavirus does not give truce in America with new records. Photo: Joanna Dubaj / Publicdomainpictures.net

Although the WHO states that the continent has shown some stabilization in the last 15 days, in Latin America and the Caribbean, which with 5.28 million infections represents 27.1% of the total orbital, there are 837 infections per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to 249 worldwide, and 34 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to 9 worldwide, according to data from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

Five of the 10 countries most affected by the pandemic are in this region: Brazil, in second place (2.96 million cases), while from sixth to ninth place are, respectively, Mexico (462,690), Peru (455,409), Chile (368,825) and Colombia (357,710), in a list headed by another American country, the United States, with 4.9 million positive cases of COVID-19.

Brazil, to 478 deaths out of 100,000

In Brazil, 1,079 new deaths were reported at the end of this afternoon, bringing the total to 99,572, so it will almost certainly pass the 100,000 marks this Saturday.

With a mortality rate of 47.4 per 100,000 people and the virus still out of control in some regions, measures are still being taken to try to control it, such as the cancellation of the traditional military parade that every September 7th celebrates the country's independence.

In addition to the military parade for independence, other massive events have already been canceled, such as the New Year's Eve celebrations on the beaches of Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro and on Paulista Avenue, the financial heart of the state of São Paulo.

Criticism of the Mexican government

Last week, Mexico reached 50,517 deaths, well above the 6,000 to 8,000 deaths predicted in April, with records of new coronavirus infections as close as of August 1 (9,556 that day) and millions of people returning to work, in a situation that until June had caused the loss of 1.18 million formal jobs and a 10% drop in GDP predicted for 2020.

"There was no planning and the preparations made in advance were fundamental to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus," Carolina Gómez, a public health teacher who is very critical of the government's measures and the "early" exit from social distancing, told Efe on Friday.

Added to this is the under-registration of cases, acknowledged by the Executive Branch itself but unknown exactly, although there is evidence that between March and June the overall mortality rate increased by more than 50 %. On the positive side, hospital occupancy stands at 43% nationally for general beds and 38% for ventilator beds.

In part because of this, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that his country "flattened the curve" of the epidemic and "avoided" hospital saturation, a success that, according to Gómez, "is relative" because there has been "a delay in the attention of other types of ailments or emergencies," to which we can add cases such as that of Nuevo León (north), a state that brought forward the "new normality" and suffers a hospital occupancy rate of 70%.

The U.S., bringing relief positions closer

Meanwhile, in the US, part of the conversation about the pandemic revolves around the economic effects, with the Democrats ready to make concessions to save the new rescue plan, at a time when negotiations with the government are on the verge of collapse and with this Friday as the initial deadline.

According to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, her party offered to lower its request from $3 trillion to $2 trillion on the condition that the White House drops its initial offer of a $1 trillion package and agree to $2 trillion in total spending.

All this after a measure to prevent the eviction of 12 million Americans during the last four months expired at the end of June and, in addition, a week ago, the weekly unemployment benefits of 600 dollars that 30 million workers were receiving expired.

Meanwhile, the pandemic continues to hit hard in states such as Florida, which today is close to 8,000 deaths, a figure that, according to a projection, will double by October, although there are encouraging signs in other areas such as New York, the former national epicenter of the disease and where the green light has been given for the state's schools to reopen in September.

Small problems

Although not so worrying but very telling is the situation in Cuba (2,829 infections and 88 deaths), where this day there were 54 new infections, 43 of them in Havana, the highest daily figure in the last three months.

This caused a partial return to the "epidemic phase" before the reopening from this Friday with a limitation of access to the capital, vehicle and personal circulation until 11 p.m. and restrictions until 9 p.m. for the operation of bars and restaurants, which in the case of the former will only be able to offer drinks and where dancing will not be allowed.

For its part, the Bahamas archipelago has become the regional epicenter of the expansion of COVID-19, with 900 residents in quarantine and more than 300 isolated, for a total of 761 infected and 14 dead in the country, which has put the small territories of the Caribbean on alert.

The government, seeking to boost its tourism industry, opened the borders in early July, forcing a return to confinement and the setting up of a police unit to help curb breaches of health measures. This has not prevented cases such as the 23 patients at the Sandilands rehabilitation center in Nassau, who tested positive on Thursday.

Search for a cure continues

Amid concerns about the advance of the pandemic, plans to find cures in the Americas continue, as in Brazil, one of the countries experimenting with the vaccine developed by the British university of Oxford and which hopes to begin mass production of the vaccine in December, the state laboratory responsible reported Friday.

In addition, a group of foundations and companies, including the brewery Ambev and the bank Itaú, announced an investment of nearly 18.5 million dollars to build a factory to produce this potential Oxford and AstraZeneca vaccine.

There was also good news from the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, which announced an agreement with the biotech company Gilead Sciences to produce remdesivir and thus scale up the supply of this drug, which has proven effective in reducing the chances of death from the virus.

Source: EFE