Covid-19: data scientist warns of accelerating cases

Covid-19: According to the Analysis Network Covid-19, a group of scientists who analyze data from Covid-19 and have been correct in their forecasts, the Brazilian states are easing the circulation restriction measures too soon. After the collapse witnessed in almost all units of the federation at the beginning of the year, the researchers’ warning is clear: making it flexible now, without a consistent drop in the number of cases, will again increase infections and leave the country on a very high plateau of cases and deaths.

The current average of new cases of Covid-19 in Brazil is 65 thousand a day, with daily deaths close to three thousand – this in official numbers, not counting the unreported cases. There are already more than 375 thousand deaths in the pandemic, with the tendency to close the sad number of 400 thousand deaths by Covid-19 in Brazil still in April this year.

National lockdown

Data scientist Isaac Schrarstzhaupt, who specializes in risk analysis for companies and one of the coordinators of the Analysis Network Covid-19, warns of the need for a national lockdown to slow the average of cases. According to him, the ideal would be three weeks of confinement to decrease the circulation of the virus, breaking the transmission chains and making it possible to get out of the health crisis. He explains in an interview to the BBC the momentary slowdown that we are experiencing: “We were exploding without a brake. We made restrictions in several states and managed to slow down. It is not a fall, it is the speed of ascent that has reduced”, he says.

What the data says

Without lockdown and with a low rate of vaccination, the number of cases and deaths should stabilize at a high level, instead of slowing down transmission. It works as in physics: the acceleration of cases is at stratospheric levels. To stop it, a deceleration force is needed, contrary to the increase in cases: in this situation, the restriction in the circulation of people.

To carry out the calculation, the specialists take into account Google’s population displacement data, through the geolocation feature present in cell phones – and when crossing the data, the trends that have been confirmed appear. The relationship is very clear: the more people circulate, the more cases of the disease appear. Therefore, everything suggests that the slowdown that is being experienced by some states is not a fall, but just a light foot on the brake – we are still accelerating.

How is the current situation

Some states already show a reversal of the deceleration trend due to the flexibility that, according to the scientist, is early. Amazonas, for example, had a deceleration of -36.84% on April 11. In the past ten days, it has decreased to -20%. In other words: the contagion accelerated again. Rio Grande do Sul, on the other hand, failed to consolidate the fall of -56% in cases and in the last ten days it started to fall at a speed of only -19%.

Bahia reopened shopping malls. In the state of Alagoas and in Curitiba, capital of Paraná, which passed 100% of the occupancy of ICU beds at the end of March, the operation of bars and restaurants with face-to-face service was once again allowed. The capital of Rio has resumed extended opening hours for commerce in bars, restaurants, cafeterias and kiosks on the waterfront. Schools were reopened, just like in São Paulo. Rio Grande do Sul has extended its hours in markets, restaurants and bars.

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