MIAMI – The number of COVID-19 deaths in Brazil climbed by a record 751 overnight to bring the total to 9,897, while confirmed cases increased by 10,222 to 145,328, the health ministry said on Friday.
In Peru, fourth in infections in the Western Hemisphere behind the United States (1.27 million), Brazil and Canada (67,368), President Martin Vizcarra announced an extension of the state of emergency until May 24, though the start of the night-time curfew will be put back from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
Mexico’s government categorically rejected a story in The New York Times accusing officials in the Aztec nation of sharply undercounting COVID-19 deaths.
The Dominican Republic, meanwhile, touted its success in slowing the rate of contagion to the point that the number of cases are doubling roughly every three weeks.
Brazil, where far-right President Jair Bolsonaro continues to minimize the danger from the disease, suffered its worst day so far since the pandemic reached the giant Latin American country.
The worst-hit region of Brazil is Sao Paulo state, with nearly 42,000 infections and approaching 3,500 deaths. Next is Rio de Janeiro state, which has lost more than 1,500 lives to the coronavirus.
But the crisis appears to be most acute in Amazonas state, whose hospitals have collapsed due to an infection rate of 2,588 cases for every 1 million residents.
Sao Paulo state, which began restricting movement and activity on March 24, had been planning for a gradual re-opening of the economy prior to Gov. Joao Doria’s decision Friday to keep quarantine measures in place until the end of May.
His counterpart in Rio state, Wilson Witzel, has asked the Attorney General’s Office to review a proposal for a much-stricter lockdown.
“The Mexican government does not hide information about COVID-19 infections or fatalities, as some media outlets assume. The case numbers we present every day are the product of work by dozens of scientists and our policy is one of open data and total transparency,” a spokesman for President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador wrote Friday on Twitter.
Jesus Ramirez Cuevas responded to an article in The New York Times claiming that more than 2,500 people in Mexico City have died of the coronavirus, more than three times the official death toll of 700.
In a subsequent video, the official coordinating Mexico’s national response to the disease, Hugo Lopez-Gatell, pointed out that the daily fatality statistics are issued “pending” official confirmation of the respective causes of death.
Gustavo Montalvo, chief of staff to Dominican President Danilo Medina, said on Friday in a televised speech that the Caribbean nation was having more success against COVID-19 than other countries in the Americas, including the US, Brazil, Mexico, Peru and Ecuador.
“The curve is flatter in the Dominican Republic than in those countries,” he said.
The illness has claimed 380 lives in the Dominican Republic and the number of cases stands at 9,376, the health ministry said Friday.
Medina’s government declared a state of emergency on March 19, imposing a dusk-to-dawn curfew.