COVID-19 cases in South America are reaching concerning heights, with Brazil being the most affected.
Rabat – World Health Organization (WHO) officials announced yesterday that South America has become a new epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis, accounting for approximately 550,000 of the world’s infected patients.
“In a sense, South America has become a new epicenter for the disease. We’ve seen many South American countries with increasing numbers of cases, and clearly there’s a concern across many of those countries, but certainly the most affected is Brazil at this point,” Executive Director of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Programme Michael J. Ryan said in a press conference on May 22.
Brazil, following the US with the second-highest number of confirmed cases, has counted more than 330,890 patients who tested positive for the virus, with 21,048 deaths and 116,683 recoveries. The country’s daily death toll recently topped 1,000 three times in four consecutive days, making Brazil the most seriously affected country on the continent.
WHO officials also commented on Brazilian authorities’ approval of the broad use of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 treatment. Ryan stressed that clinical evidence does not support the widespread use of the drug against coronavirus, given the health hazards associated with it.
Peru, with the second most cases in the region, recently extended its nationwide lockdown for the fifth time. First imposed in mid-March, Peruvian officials set June 30 as the new end date to the mandated social isolation.
Health officials report that conditions in South America’s urban centers are proving precarious due to deficits in healthcare and other social services, and crowded informal housing settlements and public transportation.
The WHO also announced that cases in Africa have reached 100,000 and that cases have reached every country on the continent. As of 10 a.m. on May 23, Morocco accounted for 7,375 of the confirmed cases.
More than five million people around the world have now been confirmed to have the novel coronavirus.