The tragedy of the pandemic in Brazil has reached numbers so alarming that it is increasingly difficult to measure the deaths that happen in the country and still compare them to the rest of the world. In addition, groups that deny the seriousness of the pandemic make use of comparisons with proportional data, sometimes with absolute data.
Anyway, it is possible to affirm today that Brazil concentrates one third of the daily covid deaths in the world, even with 3% of the world population. In addition, more people died in March in Brazil than in the entire pandemic in 109 countries, which total 1.6 billion inhabitants.
Official data from Brazilian hospitals also point out that the number of deaths from covid-19 may have already surpassed 443 thousand, almost 120 thousand more than the statistics released by the Bolsonaro government. The same estimate indicates that about 4 thousand people die every day in the country.
BBC News Brasil presents three charts below to help understand the situation in Brazil and how it compares to other countries. Daily deaths, deaths throughout the entire pandemic, speed of vaccination and when Brazil should reach 500,000 deaths by covid.
1. Today, Brazil has 3% of the world population and 33% of deaths per day in the world
The world population is almost 7.8 billion people. As of March 31, 2021, 11,769 deaths from covid were recorded in all countries of the world combined.
Brazil, with 212 million inhabitants, represents 2.7% of the total population. On March 31, 2021, 3,869 people died from covid.
That is, for every hundred people in the world, 3 are Brazilian. And out of every 100 daily deaths in the world, 33 occur in Brazil.
2. Covid killed more in March in Brazil than in the entire pandemic in 109 countries combined
One of the main arguments of people who minimize the severity of the pandemic in Brazil is the size of the population. They say that it is not fair to compare Brazil with countries with fewer inhabitants.
In other words, according to this perspective, Brazil, third in the total number of deaths, would certainly be among the nations with the most deaths because it is the sixth most populous in the world.
And if the size of the population goes into the account, Brazil will be the 17th in worst situation, behind countries like the United States, Italy, Portugal, United Kingdom, Spain and Mexico.
But experts point out that this type of comparison hides the country’s current situation, and mixes data from countries at different stages of the pandemic.
Then, below are two comparisons taking into account the size of the population and the current situation in the country.
A. In March, more people died of covid-19 in Brazil than in 109 countries combined during the entire pandemic. 66,573 were killed in Brazil, a country of 212 million inhabitants. In 109 countries, totaling 1.6 billion inhabitants, 64,571 deaths occurred over 12 months.
This group of countries includes 36 countries with a Human Development Index (HDI) higher than that of Brazil and 26 with more than 20 million inhabitants. These include South Korea, Australia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Ghana, Angola and Vietnam.
B. In comparing the current death rate per 1 million inhabitants, Brazil has the sixth worst situation in the world, behind Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Seychelles, Czech Republic and Bulgaria. All have less than 11 million inhabitants.
3. Brazil ranks 18th in the vaccination ranking
There are several ways to compare the rate of vaccination between countries. In total numbers, Brazil would be in the fifth position, with 18 million doses distributed. But, as mentioned above, even those who downplay the seriousness of the situation argue that the comparisons take into account the size of the population.
In this case, Brazil plummets to 18th global position, with 9 doses for every hundred inhabitants. The leader is Israel, with 116 for every hundred people.
These figures do not consider who received one or two doses (which would guarantee the vaccine’s full effectiveness). So far, Brazil has vaccinated 7% of its population with at least one dose. The UK vaccinated 45%, Chile 35% and the USA 29%.
In comparing the current rate of vaccination, Brazil is in 13th place. Two people are vaccinated for every thousand inhabitants per day. In Uruguay, there are 10 per thousand.
4. Projections of the near future: 500 thousand deaths by May?
The lack of accurate data on the situation of the pandemic, something that Brazil has faced since March 2020, makes it very difficult to analyze what happens today and what may happen in a month, for example.
But there are mathematical models that try, with all the limitations of lack of data and uncertainties, to present a picture closer to reality than the official data.
Officially, Brazil ended the month of March with the tragic mark of 321 thousand deaths by covid-19 during the pandemic. But Brazilian hospital records indicate that the number of people who died as a result of confirmed or suspected cases of the disease in the country may have already surpassed 443 thousand.
This number was released on April 1 by Leonardo Bastos, a statistician and researcher in public health of the Scientific Computing Program of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz). He leads nowcasting analysis (“forecasting the now”) in a partnership involving Mave, Fiocruz’s team of Analytical Methods in Epidemiological Surveillance, and the Covid-19 BR Observatory, a group that brings together scientists from different institutions (such as Fiocruz, USP, UFMA, UFSC, MIT and Harvard).
Estimates indicate that 4 thousand people died in Brazil this week due to suspected or confirmed cases of covid in hospitals in the country.
And the trend is that the situation will continue to get worse. Imperial College London points out that the country’s contagion rate currently stands at 1.12. The pandemic only recedes when that number falls below 1.
Projections from the Los Alamos National Laboratory, in the United States, point out that it is very likely that the worst scenario will materialize and that Brazil will increase from 516 thousand deaths by covid until May 9.
Underreporting, however, points out that this may already occur in April, if the situation does not improve.
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