COVID-19 in Brazil, May

Brazil // 31 May, 2020

At least 498,440 cases have been confirmed, with over 28,830 deaths. Outbreak. The state of Sao Paulo is reporting the most cases.

See the Ministry of Health COVID-19 page and the Government COVID-19 case notification website.

31 May: More than 33,000 new cases were confirmed in the previous day with more than 950 deaths. The country ranks second globally in the tally of confirmed cases and fourth in the deaths tally. About 40% of the confirmed cases have recovered. The country increased the testing capacity significantly. The daily average of tests was 1,689 in March which has increased to 7,624 this May. There are plans to ease quarantine measures despite the rising case numbers.

28 May: Over 36,000 new cases and at least 2,000 deaths were reported over the past 3 days, bringing the total number to 411,821 cases and 25,599. The COVID-19 epidemic in Brazil continues to grow rapidly. Health experts have expressed concerns about the sustained upward trend in new cases and deaths per day. The healthcare system is overwhelmed across the country, with intensive care unit (ICU) beds and resources approaching full capacity. According to official data, the following states have the highest rates of ICU occupancy throughout Brazil: Amapá - 97.78%, Pernambuco –97%, Maranhão - 94.31%, Ceará - 89%, Rio de Janeiro 86%, Bahia 86% and São Paulo - 73.80%. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Americas have emerged as the new epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic, with Brazil experiencing the most rapid increases daily in new cases and deaths.

26 May: The outbreak in Brazil has accelerated and the number of deaths reported in the last week was the highest globally for a 7-day period since the pandemic began. A University of Washington study is warning the death toll could increase five-fold to 125,000 by early August. However, Sao Paulo authorities have ruled out a full lockdown and plan to start loosening restrictions on June 1. A US travel ban was taking effect Tuesday for foreigners coming from Brazil. The ban was moved up two days earlier than its original date. It does not apply to US citizens. At east six oil producers have registered COVID-19 cases among employees or contractors on oil rigs off the coast of Brazil.

23 May: Cases and deaths continue to surge and Brazil is now the country reporting the second most cases, after the United States. A total of 330,890 cases have been confirmed, which includes at least 21,048 fatalities. Sao Paulo remains heavily affected.

21 May: The Health Ministry reported 888 new deaths and nearly 20,000 new infections in a single day. The country now confirms a total of over 290,000 COVID-19 cases, despite limited testing capacity. To date, 18,859 deaths (6.5%) have been recorded. The Southeast region is recording the most cases with over 113,000 cases, closely followed by the Northeast with over 100,000. São Paulo municipality remains the hardest hit, reporting over 69,000 cases, over 5,000 deaths and a health system which could collapse as demand for emergency beds increase. Brazil has the highest number of confirmed cases in Latin America and the relatively low testing rate in Brazil suggests the outbreak is much larger than official data indicates.

20 May: In just the past 24 hours, Brazil has recorded 17,408 more cases and 1,179 new deaths. This registers Brazil in a group that adds more than 1,000 deaths in just 24 hours.

Brazil has authorised the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for treating COVID-19 patients, regardless of severity of their illness. This is in opposition to recommendations from several health agencies, who state it should only be administered as part of clinical trials or to hospitalised patients to allow for monitoring of heart-related side effects.

19 May: Brazil has now recorded over a quarter of a million COVID-19 cases and more than 16,700 deaths. The Brazilian public health have distributed equipment, including another 304 respirators to nine states. The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) has assisted in equipment deliveries to municipalities in Amazonas State which are hard to access. Each state is responsible for the allocation of health equipment.

In the states of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, hospital officials have reported that more than 85% occupancy of intensive care beds. São Paulo’s health system is nearing capacity, not helped by residents not conforming to social distancing rules. More than 3,000 people have died of COVID-19 in São Paulo. Health services in the state capital, Manaus, have been overwhelmed and mass graves are being used to bury the dead. In Amazonas state, nearly 21,000 confirmed cases have been reported.

17 May: Large increase in confirmed cases, pushing Brazil to be the fourth most affected country for confirmed cases, and the fifth for deaths. With over 22,800 new cases and 1,300 deaths confirmed in the last two days (although many of these occurred earlier and have only just been laboratory confirmed), there are 241,080 confirmed cases and 16,118 deaths. The hospital bed capacity is around 90% in Sao Paulo and growing, estimated to reach capacity within a fortnight. Debates about enforcing a state-wide lock down continue.

16 May: Over 15,305 new cases reported on 15 May. There are concerns that the true number of infections is underestimated by as much as 10 to 12 times, due to limitations of testing. The healthcare system is struggling to cope, and there are reports that morgues and cemeteries are overwhelmed.

14 May: There has been over 20,000 new cases and 1600 deaths in the last 48 hours. Another 2,050 deaths are under investigation. Brazil has been hard hit this week registering a record number of new cases on Wednesday. It is now reported to be the sixth-worst hit country. Most residents are under 'shelter at home' orders and many states and local governments instructed most businesses to close. There are ongoing debates between National and State authorities over the economic consequences of lock-downs.

12 May: There are a total of 168,331 cases of COVID-19 across the country. Approximately 67,384 have recovered (40%) and another 89,429 are still being monitored (53.1%). There have been 11,519 deaths (6.8%), of which 162 occurred in the last 3 days. Around 1,897 deaths are still under investigation. The majority of the cases are concentrated in the heavily populated Southeast region, which also houses the states of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Some sources have noted that, Minas Gerais, another heavily populated state in the Southeast, is not testing suspected cases. Cases in the North and Northeast regions have increased over the past month.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has provided resources for structuring health services; purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) used by health professionals, diagnostic tests, medications, additional health care personnel and more ICU beds. In addition, they have recently delivered 90 respirators to Rio de Janeiro. Guidelines have been released to assist local managers in risk assessment including decision-making re the implementation of non-pharmacological measures, such as social distancing.

Today is the 3rd phase of the National Flu Vaccination Campaign aimed at vaccinating an additional 36.1 million people in the COVID-19 priority group by 5 June. The Ministry of Health purchased 79 million doses of the flu vaccine.

11 May: The sharp increase in cases continues; a total of 162,699 cases have been confirmed. Of these 11,123 people have died and 64,957 people have recovered. Over one-quarter of the cases are from Sao Paulo and 10% are from Rio de Janeiro.

7 May: Cases continue to rapidly increase, with some days exceeding 10,000 new cases. Brazil currently has the most cases in Latin America and has the world's ninth highest total. An outbreak in the city of Manaus has overwhelmed the health system and local cemeteries. The national strategy for epidemiological and laboratory surveillance for COVID-19 was launched today. The goal is to perform 46 million tests, which represents about 22% of the Brazilian population. There are concerns COVID-19 will push Brazil toward food shortages and broader production problems. Except for Rio de Janeiro state, nonessential businesses and services are closed in most states. Sao Luis in the northeast, is the only city in lock-down.The states of Maranhao, Para and Ceara announced more aggressive lockdowns in certain areas this week.

5 May: In the last 24 hours there were 6,633 new cases and 296 new deaths, registering 107,780 cases of COVID-19 and 7,321 deaths. Over 45,000 people have been reported to have recovered after contracting the virus, which represents 42.5% of the total confirmed cases. Currently, at least another 54,000 people (50.7%) are being followed up and around 1,400 deaths remain under investigation. Many municipalities in the country still do not register cases of the disease, however, in general, COVID-19 is present in all states of the country. Sao Paulo continues to record the most infection with 32,187 cases and 2,654 deaths. Rio de Janeiro is next with 11,721 cases and 1,065 deaths.

During the month of April, Manaus, the capital of Amazonas state, saw a rise of over 500% in people who died from respiratory problems. With testing still low it is COVID-19 can only be suspected. The city is overwhelmed with limited medical supplies, adequate PPE for healthcare workers and reports of mass burials.

Over 100 indigenous people in the Amazon have been confirmed to be infected, with the majority in the upper Amazon river near the border with Colombia and Peru. Indigenous leaders are concerned over their ability to respond to the pandemic and have asked the WHO "to help protect their communities from the threat of the coronavirus pandemic".

3 May: Almost 15,000 new cases have been confirmed in the last 3 days, taking the total to 101,147 cases nationwide. At least 7,025 people have died and 42,991 people have recovered.

See the April news here.

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