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According to a specialist interviewed by the Federal Foundation, the victims are concentrated in vulnerable groups, leading to the cases' invisibility.
In the last fifteen days, Brazil has been reporting a daily average of deaths caused by COVID-19 above 200, with an upward trend. Last Friday, the number reached 250, according to the National Council of Health Secretaries (Conass) report.
This number of deaths is much lower compared to April 2021, which was the worst pandemic wave. Back then, the moving average of daily deaths exceeded the 3000 mark. But even so, the country finds itself in a scenario of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome deaths never before recorded.
The scale of last year's tragedy means that the country continues to live with a high record of deaths from respiratory causes since this information began to be collected. A study conducted with open data from InfoGripe/Fiocruz shows that between 2009 and 2019, Brazil recorded 22 122 deaths from Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, an average of just over 2000 deaths per year. Currently, the country records an average of 2000 deaths from a single cause every ten days.
These reports are evidence that even with the advance in vaccination, the coronavirus is still far more lethal than the influenza-causing viruses, which have been circulating the world for longer. However, this lethality is concentrated in specific groups: the elderly, the immunocompromised, children under one year of age, and those who, for whatever reason, we're not vaccinated. Thus, they become "invisible" deaths.
Brazil ���� COVID-19 current stats for Mon Jul 18 2022
Isaac Schrarstzhaupt, a data scientist and coordinator of the Covid-19 Analysis Network, said that this situation collaborates with the increase in virus transmission. "We realize that we have a much more lethal disease than H1N1 and that, as it is transmitted smoothly, it is developing variants that are able to infect people faster and faster," he explains.
"Now we have populations suffering less and others suffering more with the smaller waves we have been observing," says Anderson F. Brito, virologist and research scientist at the Instituto Todos pela Saúde (ITPS) and member of the United Nations Halo Team.
"If we look only at the number of cases, they are as high as the 2021 waves. However, they don't generate as much impact for younger people, who become a bit more careless because they know they probably won't have serious cases. Still, they forget that they are connected to other people."