World Coronavirus: why it kills more young adults in Brazil...

Coronavirus: why it kills more young adults in Brazil than in other countries


In this file photo taken on April 20, 2020, volunteers wait to participate in a disinfection plan at the Santa Marta favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, during the coronavirus pandemic. Source: AFP

RIO DE JANEIRO.-

The proportion of young adults killed by the new

coronavirus

in Brazil it is superior to that of other countries

hard affected by

pandemic

, especially among the poorest classes, which face more obstacles to comply with social distance measures.

In this country of 210 million inhabitants, with a population younger than Europe,

69% of those killed by Covid-19 are over 60 years old

, according to official figures.

In countries like

Italy and Spain, those over 60 represent 95% of deaths

.

The difference is explained firstly by the population pyramid:

only 13.6% of Brazilians are over 60 years old, compared to 25% of Spaniards and 28% of Italians

. But other factors also come into play.

“As our population is younger, it is normal for the percentage of deaths to be higher among Brazilians under the age of 60, but

also due to the fact that these young adults are less respectful of confinement measures

“Mauro Sanchez, an epidemiologist at the University of Brasilia, told AFP.

The rate of adherence to quarantine measures, calculated based on the signal from mobile phones, has fallen steadily in the last month, at the same time as the far-right president

Jair Bolsonaro

He questioned the partial confinement adopted by various states, in the name of the economic impacts of those measures.

The percentage of deaths from coronavirus under 60 years -which was 19% in April-

climbed to 31% this week

When the country first recorded more than 1,000 deaths in one day on Tuesday.

The cumulative death toll in Brazil exceeded 20,000 on Thursday

, 57% of the total in Latin America

.

“Troubling figures”

When it comes to infections, the Ministry of Health does not provide data on age ranges.

Specialists also point out

that the official data of infections can be up to 15 times less than the real cases

, due to the lack of generalized tests.

According to estimates by the group of researchers Covid-19 Brazil,

the country would already accumulate more than 3.6 million infected, compared to the 310,087 that appear in the ministerial reports.

According to projections of the group, the age groups of 20 to 29 years and from 30 to 39 concentrate more than 580,000 cases each, that is, around a third of all infections.

“We know that there are different variants of the new coronavirus in circulation in the world, but no study has shown so far that in Brazil it is more virulent against young people,” says Patricia Canto, a pulmonologist at the National School of Public Health at Fiocruz, an institution of reference research in the region.

“But

the figures are worrying, because they show that young people do not take the necessary precautions and are exposed to the virus

, although they are also at risk of presenting serious symptoms, “he adds.

“Despite the fact that most infected young adults do not need to be hospitalized, health services are more saturated than they would be if they only received the elderly,” says Mauro Sanchez.

For the researcher, “the majority of those who do not respect confinement leave the house because they have no other choice,” alluding to the millions of poor workers whose income comes from the informal economy, such as street vendors.

“If the government had implemented [con éxito] a policy of massive aid to the most vulnerable people, maybe those people would have stayed at home “,

sustains.

The government is distributing monthly installments of 600 reais (about $ 107, at the current rate) to low-income heads of households, but many applicants for aid have faced problems registering.

This leads to long lines forming in the branches of the public bank that pays the benefit, generating crowds that are conducive to the spread of the virus.

Risk factor’s

For Julio Croda, an infectologist at the University of Mato Grosso do Sul, young adults from poor classes are more at risk of becoming seriously ill from Covid-19.

“Many do not have access to healthy food and have many relevant risk factors, such as obesity, hypertension and diabetes,” he explains.

“This deconstructs the discourse of those who defend vertical isolation, that is, confining the elderly only,” adds Croda, former director of the Department of Communicable Diseases of the Ministry of Health, who resigned in March for disagreeing with the implemented policy.

Bolsonaro advocates vertical insulation to keep the economy running

. “He defends a strategy without any technical or scientific basis and, as a representative of the nation that influences the opinion of many Brazilians, places the population at risk,” Croda warns.

AFP Agency

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