10 March 2021   Leave a comment

In the US, there are glimmers of hope with respect to the COVID pandemic: vaccinations are proceeding at a good pace and the positivity rates seem to be declining. It is not clear whether these trends will continue. But other states in the world are not reflecting that trend, and Brazil is perhaps the most extreme case right now:

“The country has recorded more than 270,000 deaths and 11.2 million cases since the pandemic began.

“It has the second-highest number of deaths in the world after the US and the third-highest number of confirmed cases.”

In many ways, Brazil suffers from the same mismanagement of the pandemic that characterized the Trump Administration’s approach throughout 2020. The Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro, has repeatedly tried to downplay the virus in much the same way that US President Trump did and he most recently told the Brazilian people to “stop whining”:

“‘Stop whining. How long are you going to keep crying about it?’ Mr Bolsonaro said at an event. ‘How much longer will you stay at home and close everything? No one can stand it anymore. We regret the deaths, again, but we need a solution.'”

Brazil is the home of the P1 variant which has many epidemiologists concerned and it does not appear as if the country has any handle on the virus:

“Brazil is facing a dire situation with intensive care units more than 80 percent occupied in 25 of Brazil’s 27 capital cities, according to a report released Tuesday by public health institute Fiocruz.

“‘The fight against COVID-19 was lost in 2020 and there is not the slightest chance of reversing this tragic circumstance in the first half of 2021,’ epidemiologist Jesem Orellana of Fiocruz/Amazonia told AFP.

“‘The best we can do is hope for the miracle of mass vaccination or a radical change in the management of the pandemic,’ he said.

“‘Today, Brazil is a threat to humanity and an open-air laboratory where impunity in management seems to be the rule.'”

Other countries with increased cases of COVID include Turkey, France, Poland, and Bulgaria. The continued spread of the virus is a danger to everyone in the world. Most viruses develop mutations, but deadly viruses usually kill off their hosts before they can easily spread. But COVID seems to be different, as explained by The Economist:

“However, with SARS-CoV-2 that is not a factor because the virus makes people most infectious around the time they first show symptoms and weeks before they are likely to perish from complications. If a person dies a few weeks after having been highly infectious, it has almost no effect on the evolutionary trajectory of the virus. Thus, it is just as likely for chance mutations to crop up in the viral genetic code that make it more lethal as it is for chance mutations to make it less lethal.

If this analysis is accurate, then the presence of COVID anywhere in the world is potentially a threat even to societies that fully vaccinate against old versions of the virus.

Posted March 10, 2021 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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