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  • Brazil leads the number of deaths by COVID-19 in the region.

    Brazil leads the number of deaths by COVID-19 in the region. | Photo: EFE

Published 9 June 2020
Opinion

Brazil and Chile are the most affected countries in the region while the WHO has stated that the peak of the pandemic is now in Latin America.

 

The World Health Organization (WHO) asked the Brazilian government Monday for transparency in the data on the COVID-19 impact in the country, while Chile presented a new methodology to record deaths that have also generated criticisms about data transparency.

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Bolsonaro Urged to Resume Release of Brazil's COVID-19 Data

Brazil's far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has been accused of retaining the official data on the evolution of the COVID-19 in the country, when on Saturday a several-hour blackout on the Brazilian Ministry of Health page that showed information on the virus in real time, deleted the information withheld on the number of infected and deceased in the country.

The ministry's website was a key public resource for monitoring the pandemic, which is why many believe that there was an attempt to hide the official information on deaths in order to silence the criticism the government has been receiving for its mismanagement in the face of a health crisis.

For his part, WHO Director Michael Ryan said that "it is very important that there be consistent transparency in government statistics on the situation of COVID-19 in the country."

Ryan also insisted that it is expected that “we can count on our partners in Brazil to pass that information on to us, and more importantly, pass it on to their citizens. They need to know what is going on.”

Chile Changes Methodology Again

Meanwhile in Chile, Minister of Science, Technology, Knowledge, and Innovation, Andres Couve reported on the decision of a change in methodology to record the number of deaths by COVID-19 in the country, which raised criticism from the scientific community as the government has demonstrated its ignorance about the impact of the virus, mainly in the poorest regions.

"We don’t know how many of the patients are hospitalized, how many are out, how many have a fever, and how many do not," Francisca Crispi, from the Medical College’s policy department, told AFP.

"The scientific community is very disappointed in the handling of the data. Anonymized data handling has been requested (...) to do data analysis ourselves," she added.

For his part, Couve explained that the change in methodology seeks a "more accurate" information of the dead. However, the average of almost 5,000 people infected every day reported in the last two weeks foresees a critical scenario for health services and has generated a mistrust when the scientific community states that the highest point of infection has not yet been reached.

Brazil and Chile are the most affected countries in the region while the WHO has stated that the peak of the pandemic is now in Latin America.

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