By NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews
The Brazil Ministry of Health reported today that the number of coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19 cases in the country is now 10,278.
There were 1,222 new confirmations in 24 hours. The number of deaths has also increased, now there are 432. Most are in São Paulo, which has seen 260 deaths and leads the national list with 4,466 confirmed cases of the disease.
Despite the announcement of the increase in cases, doctors warn that underreporting and a lack of testing leaves the true numbers largely unknown and likely much higher.
“What’s happening is enormous underreporting,” said Isabella Rêllo, a doctor working in emergency and intensive care in Rio de Janeiro hospitals, in a widely shared Facebook post challenging official numbers. “There are MANY more,” she wrote.
14 million Brazilians live in densely populated favelas (slums or shantytowns) where basic sanitation is frequently lacking.
“In Brazil that’s certainly a critical issue, if not a crisis,” said Albert Ko, department chair and professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Medicine.
In related news in Brazil, the Ministry of Health purchased 15,000 mechanical respirators, worth US $13,000 each, with an investment of R $ 1 billion. After signing the contract, at the end of March, the company has up to 30 days to deliver the equipment in Brazil. Ventilators help patients who are unable to breathe on their own and their use is indicated in severe cases of coronavirus (COVID-19), who have breathing difficulties. The Ministry of Health has also maintained a permanent dialogue with Brazilian producers of respirators to guarantee supply in the country.