SAO PAULO – Brazil, confident of having the Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine in December, is closing in on 90,000 deaths during the epidemic that since the end of May has killed an average of 1,000 people per day in the country and threatens to worsen in the southern regions with the arrival of winter.
As reported on Tuesday by the Ministry of Health, and without the consolidated data from the state of Para, to be updated Wednesday, in the last 24 hours Brazil registered 921 new deaths from COVID-19, bringing the total number to 88,539.
Despite the figures, 1,721,560 patients have recovered, including President Jair Bolsonaro, who resumed his activities on Monday after a negative test and returned to office after a 20-day isolation period at Alvorada Palace, his official residence.
On Tuesday, Bolsonaro, like the day before, avoided contact with supporters who wait for him every day for when he leaves his residence and fulfilled his schedule of commitments without exposure to the press. The president plans to travel in the coming days to several states in the northeast and southern regions.
Meanwhile, in Sao Paulo a vaccine developed by the Chinese laboratory Sinovac Biotech was this month to be tested on 9,000 Brazilian volunteers. The country also expects in December the first batch produced by Oxford University for which clinical trials began last month in Brazil.
The Secretary of Health Surveillance, Arnaldo Correia de Medeiros, said in an interview with CNN Brazil that the first batch with 15 million doses, of the 100 million ordered by the country, should arrive in December.
A second batch, with another 15 million doses, is scheduled for January, and the remaining quantity of 70 million should arrive in Brazil in sequential deliveries from March 2021.
The mayor of the city of Sao Paulo, capital of the state of the same name, released a study on Tuesday that indicated that 11.1 percent of its population, or about 1.32 million people over 18 years of age, could have been infected by COVID-19, a figure seven times higher than that obtained with official data.
The results of the study were presented Tuesday at a press conference by Mayor Bruno Covas, who is dealing with cancer and also recently recovered after having tested positive for COVID-19, along with the municipal health secretary Edson Aparecido.
The calculated proportion of asymptomatic individuals among those who tested positive is 39.7 percent, Aparecido said, adding it is a fairly significant number of people who tested positive and said they had no symptoms of the disease.
Based on the statistics of asymptomatic patients, the municipal government concluded that the number of unreported infections is greater than the 182,027 cases officially confirmed as of this Tuesday in the largest South American city.
The Sao Paulo report corroborates the projections of health specialists who estimate that the number of COVID-19 cases in the country may be even higher than the official figures due to the high degree of underreporting.