Coronavirus: South America “is the new epicenter of the pandemic” warned the WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared today, in its regular daily conference, that the disturbing numbers of infections and deaths by coronavirus in South America have shifted the attention of world health authorities to this continent.

“South America has become a new epicenter of the disease. We are seeing the number of cases increase in many South American countries,” said WHO chief emergency officer Michael Ryan, via conference call from Geneva.

In addition, Ryan said that “there is a lot of concern around these countries, but clearly the most affected at the moment is Brazil.”

Today, Brazil can become the second country (only behind the United States) with the most cases in the world, if it maintains the level of infections in recent days (it has 310,087 infected and it could surpass Russia, which registers 326,448).

This Friday found a record figure of 1,188 deaths in a single day, so the number of deaths rose to 20,047 since the start of the pandemic, according to data from the country’s Ministry of Health.

The State of São Paulo, the main economic and cultural point of the country, is the most affected by the pandemic with about a quarter of all cases and deaths registered nationwide, with a total of 5,558 deaths; followed by Rio de Janeiro, with 3,412; Ceará, with 2,161; Pernambuco, with 1,925 others and Paraná, with 1,852 deaths.

In this regard, Ryan stated that although the number of cases in São Paulo is the highest, the most serious situation is that of the Amazon, “with a very high rate,” he said.

The Amazon state has the highest number of cases in relation to the population: 490 infected people per 100,000 inhabitants.

Refusal to use chloroquine

“The Brazilian government approved the use of hydro, but we highlight the fact that systematic reviews of clinical trials do not recommend its extended use. Not until the tests are complete and we have the results,” said the professional.

The WHO today disavowed the decision of the Brazilian government to approve the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of Covid-19, because there is no scientific evidence that it is a safe and effective drug against this disease.

“The clinical evidence does not support the use of this drug and it is not recommended at least until clear clinical trial results are available,” said WHO Director of the Health Emergencies Program, Mike Ryan, at a press conference. in Geneva.

He added that the investigations of the WHO regional office for the Americas, known as the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), have not reached conclusions that would recommend it either.

The Ministry of Health of Brazil published this Wednesday, at the direction of President Jair Bolsonaro, a protocol for the treatment of patients with coronavirus, which covers the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in mild cases.

Chloroquine is a medicine widely known as an antimalarial and to treat rheumatic diseases and hydroxychloroquine is its derivative (they have the same components), but it is considered to be better tolerated.

Both are part of the group of drugs that are being studied in many countries as possible treatments for Covid-19.

Ryan recalled that there is no evidence to support its usefulness as a treatment or as prophylaxis, that is, to prevent the new coronavirus, the EFE news agency reported.

“Some regulatory authorities have advised that this medication should be reserved for the clinical setting and (its eventual use should be made) under close medical supervision for the side effects it may have in seriously ill patients, such as cardiac complications and arrhythmias,” the doctor said.

Brazil has more than 310,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus -which classifies it as the third country in the world- and has exceeded 20,000 deaths from this cause (sixth planetary location).

The positive curve registers a constant rise and the latest daily data confirmed the death of 1,188 people in a single day, the highest mark since the start of the pandemic.