Covid-19: data scientist warns of case acceleration
According to the Covid-19 Analysis Network, a collective of scientists that analyze data from Covid-19 and have been correct in their predictions, Brazilian states are easing movement 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: easing 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 Covid-19 cases in Brazil is 65,000 a day, with daily deaths close to 3,000 – this in official numbers, not counting unreported cases. There are already more than 375,000 dead in the pandemic, with the tendency to close the sad number of 400,000 killed by Covid-19 in Brazil in April this year.
Data scientist Isaac Schrarstzhaupt, specializing in risk analysis for companies and one of the coordinators of the Covid-19 Analysis Network, warns about the need for a national lockdown to slow down the average number of cases. According to him, the ideal would be three weeks of confinement to reduce the circulation of the virus, breaking the transmission chains and enabling an exit from the health crisis. In an interview with the BBC, he explains the momentary deceleration we are experiencing: “We were exploding without a brake. We made restrictions in several states and we managed to slow down. It’s not a fall, it’s the ascent speed that reduced”, he says.
what the data says
With no lockdown and low vaccination rate, the number of cases and deaths should stabilize at a high level, rather than slowing down transmission. It works like in Physics: case acceleration is at stratospheric levels. To curb it, a deceleration force is needed, contrary to the increase in cases: in this situation, the restriction in the movement of people.
To carry out the calculation, experts take into account Google’s population displacement data, through the geolocation feature present on cell phones – and when crossing the data, trends appear that have been confirmed. The relationship is very clear: the more people circulate, the more cases of the disease appear. Therefore, everything suggests that the deceleration that is being experienced by some states is not a fall, but just a light foot on the brake – we keep accelerating.
How is the current situation
Some states are already showing a reversal of the deceleration trend due to flexibility, which, according to the scientist, is premature. Amazonas, for example, showed a slowdown of -36.84% on April 11th. In the last ten days, it has decreased to -20%. In other words: it has accelerated the contagion again. Rio Grande do Sul, on the other hand, failed to consolidate the drop of -56% in cases and in the last ten days it started to fall at a rate of only -19%.
Bahia reopened malls. In the state of Alagoas and in Curitiba, capital of Paraná, which exceeded 100% of the occupation 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 resumed extended hours of operation for commerce in bars, restaurants, snack bars and kiosks on the edge. Schools were reopened, just like in São Paulo. Rio Grande do Sul has extended its hours in markets, restaurants and bars.