Monday, July 13, 2020

In two weeks, Brazil may have 1,600 daily deaths per covid-19

Amid statements from governors and mayors stating that the worst of the pandemic caused by the new coronavirus has passed, Brazil may have 1,600 daily deaths or more from the disease in two weeks. The estimate is from a mathematical model developed by researchers from the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR), which is dedicated to the analysis of data of the disease since the beginning of the pandemic.
The system uses so-called evolutionary algorithms, one of the strands of artificial intelligence, to analyze the public data of the Ministry of Health and project the curve. On Thursday (9), more than 42,000 cases and 1,200 deaths were confirmed in the country. The cumulative is 1.75 million records and 69,184 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. The UFPR model estimates that in two weeks the number of daily confirmations will be 48,000 on average.
To arrive at what researchers from the Artificial Intelligence Group applied to bioinformatics define as a good model for analysis, the beginning of studies used numbers from other countries affected by the pandemic, such as Italy and Germany.
"We did the analyses in Brazil with the model already functional," explains UFPR professor and project coordinator Roberto Raittz. The methodology integrates cases and daily deaths with the forecast of the current week (with the updated data), and also with those of the previous week; the data is processed by the researchers at the beginning of each week, and is available on the project website.
The goal of the model, Raittz points out, is to provide the government with an additional tool to assist in decision-making, such as quarantine flexibilization and science-based social isolation. The project gathers analyses for states and municipalities throughout the country, precisely to help guide in a localized way, adapting to the reality of each municipality, in what it defines as a "complete view on the pandemic in Brazil".
Therefore, the professor stresses that, taking into account the numbers, this is the worst time to make quarantine more flexible. "There is no state in Brazil that is in decline. Amazonas and Rio de Janeiro are falling, but a decline that does not indicate that the pandemic is in fact attenuated in these states. From the analyses, we observed that the curve of cases around the world has dropped much more slowly than it has. And Brazil is not yet at its peak. How will it make it easier without reaching the peak?" asks Raittz. "It doesn't make sense. That's very visible."
Also according to the mathematical model of UFPR, it is concluded that countries such as Germany relaxed the rules of isolation at the right time, when there was indeed a considerable drop. It is the country least affected in Europe by the virus, with 199,000 infected and 9,000 deaths. Raittz points to the united states' poor example: the figures indicate that early easing has led to a second abrupt increase in the number of cases. The country is the first in records and deaths, more than 3 million and 135 thousand deaths, respectively.
According to José Rocha Faria Neto, professor at the School of Medicine of the Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná (PUC-PR), the effects on flexibilization in capitals such as São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are uncertain. "We will have to wait, and it will depend a lot on the forms of distancing. But there may be an increase in cases, no doubt. Just see what happened in Florida [USA] for example. This type of measure can only be spoken in a state with descent."
Neto, who is leading a study linked to the university's Epidemiology Center for disease monitoring, says relaxation makes no sense for states like Paraná, which experiences exponential growth, with an important jump in July. According to the State Department of Health (Sesa), there were 11,000 cases in the first days of the month, and 202 deaths.
The pandemic already affects 93% of the state, where more than 130 municipalities are, since the beginning of July, in the so-called "restrictive quarantine", decreed by Governor Ratinho Jr. (PSD), who ordered the return of the closure of nonessential trade in the most affected regions.
José Rocha Neto considers that patience and cooperation of the population is necessary. "There is no guarantee that the reopening will happen and continue. The scenario can change from one week to another, and this is a rule for the whole country, which needs to monitor the cases and occupations of ICU beds. We're only going to get rid of each other when a vaccine arrives."
Tested in Brazil, a vaccine developed by the University of Oxford is considered the most promising, and there is an expectation for distribution in 2020.
The lack of quarantine planning and integrated action in Brazil on pandemic containment is expected to prolong and worsen the economic recession – the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that the Brazilian economy will plummet 9.1% this year.
The economist and rector of Positivo University, José Pio Martins, uses the analogy of an earthquake to explain what should happen in the country in the coming months: no longer it passes, it will leave great damage to the structure.
"The crisis is a sanitary earthquake and, when production is resumed, it does not return from the same level as before. Precisely for all the disorganization and problems generated in the structure. Even if, by some miracle, in 60 days there is no more coronavirus. There is company that went bankrupt, very professional liberal that lost revenue, unemployment, drop in tax collection. All this generates fragility in the resumption."
Epoca - 12/07/2020 News Item translated automatically
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