View of a crowded avenue in Florianopolis, Santa Catarina state, Brazil, on Might 12, 2020 amid the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. EDUARDO VALENTE / AFP
The brand new coronavirus was circulating in Brazil in early February, weeks sooner than initially detected, and simply earlier than tens of millions of individuals have been partying within the streets for carnival, in response to a brand new examine.
Brazil is the Latin American nation hardest hit within the pandemic, with greater than 11,500 deaths and 168,000 infections to date. Consultants say under-testing means the actual figures are in all probability far larger.
The examine used statistical evaluation to work backwards from the variety of reported COVID-19 deaths and set up the possible timeframe of the virus’ early unfold in Brazil and different international locations, stated the Oswaldo Cruz Basis (Fiocruz), the nation’s main public well being institute.
“The new coronavirus began spreading in Brazil around the first week of February. That is to say, more than 20 days before the first case was diagnosed in a traveler returning from Italy, on February 26… and more than 40 days before the first official confirmation of communal transmission,” the institute stated.
Which means the native outbreak was already nicely below method when Brazil celebrated carnival from February 21 to 25, an occasion that pulls tens of millions of vacationers and brings throngs of revelers into the streets in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Salvador and different cities.
The examine, which additionally analyzed information from Europe and the USA, discovered the virus was in all probability additionally spreading regionally two to 4 weeks earlier than the primary instances have been detected in Italy, the Netherlands and the USA.
“This lengthy phase of hidden communal transmission of the new coronavirus… indicates that containment measures should be taken at least as soon as the first imported cases are detected,” stated the lead researcher on the examine, Gonzalo Bello.