According to data provided by the government from Brazil, there are over 800 children under the age of 9 that have died of Covid-19. However, health professionals estimate the death toll to be actually three times higher.
The covid-19 variant in Brazil has killed approximately 1,300 babies since the start of the pandemic. While data from the Health Ministry suggest that over 800 children under age 9 have died of Covid-19, including about 500 babies.
Experts, however, believe the real numbers to be much higher because cases are underreported due to a lack of widespread coronavirus testing.
Dr. Fatima Marinho of the University of São Paolo, a leading epidemiologist who is a senior adviser to the international non-governmental organization Vital Strategies, estimated that the virus has killed 2,060 children under 9, including 1,302 babies.
According to Marinho, there have been 10 times more deaths caused by an unexplained respiratory syndrome over the past year compared to previous years.
Marinho added that, throughout her research, she has seen a rise in cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS) among Brazilian children. The rare syndrome is a newly identified and serious health condition associated with the virus that causes Covid-19 infections. Children who’ve been infected with the coronavirus can take up to six weeks before showing any symptoms of MIS.
Brazil currently has the second-highest number of Covid-19 deaths in the world, with more than 361,000 since the pandemic began.
Médecins Sans Frontières, or Doctors Without Borders in English, said Thursday that the government’s “failed response” to the pandemic had led to thousands of avoidable deaths.
“More than one year into the Covid-19 pandemic, the failed response in Brazil has caused a humanitarian catastrophe,” Dr. Christos Christou, president of Doctors Without Borders, said in a briefing with reporters. “Each week there is a grim new record of deaths and infections — the hospitals are overflowing, and yet there is still no coordinated centralized response.”
Last week, more than a quarter of the world’s coronavirus deaths were in Brazil. Christou said he expects the situation to worsen in the coming weeks if nothing changes.
Experts in Brazil say low coronavirus testing, lack of contact tracing efforts and a shortage of vaccines are the reasons behind the current situation.
“Their refusal to adapt evidence-based public health measures has sent far too many to an early grave. The response in Brazil needs an urgent, science-based and well-coordinated reset to prevent further avoidable deaths and the destruction of the once prestigious Brazilian health system,” Christou said in a statement Thursday.