Update from Médecins Sans Frontières in Amazonas; Published 9/11/2020
The new coronavirus has pummelled South America hard over the last six months, and Brazil is one of the hardest-hit. Infection and mortality rates in Brazil are some of the highest in the world. As of September 10th, there were 4,197,889 reported cases and 128,539 deaths. Actual numbers are likely considerably higher. For example, based on excess mortality (the total number of deaths that exceed the historical average, a more accurate way of measuring Covid’s impact when testing and monitoring are inadequate), the city of Manaus in Amazonia, Brazil had 3549 excess deaths from March to June of this year, but only 1462 reported Covid deaths.
After outbreaks in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, the infection spread to the interior. Staff from Médecins Sans Frontières jumped in to help an overwhelmed health service. Antonio Flores, medical coordinator for the team sent to help, described the situation in April: “When I arrived in Manaus, the grave diggers were working beyond capacity, all the hospital intensive care units were overflowing with dying patients, and there were lists with hundreds of severely sick patients waiting in health centres for an intensive care hospital bed to become free. It was worse than we had feared.”
Read more about their efforts below: