KEY POINTS

  • In just 24 hours, Brazil had 42,725 new cases
  • Total number of cases in the country is approaching 1.2 million and the death count is at 53,874
  • Some believe the real number could be at least 3 million cases

On Friday (June 19), Brazil reported 55,209 new cases of COVID-19, according to Worldometer, a statistical reference website that has been tracking the global numbers for the pandemic. The numbers dropped over the weekend, but, on Tuesday, the daily numbers rose to 40,131.

Wednesday’s numbers are not yet on the Worldometer site, but, according to Reuters, over the past 24 hours, 42,725 new cases are now logged in the records. Brazil’s total number of cases is approaching 1.2 million and the death count is at 53,874. The worry among the experts is that the numbers may be much higher.

That concern is expressed by Alexandre Naime Barbosa, a medical professor at São Paulo State University, who told Reuters last week the true number of coronavirus cases in Brazil may be much higher. He said, "…because there is under-reporting of a magnitude of 5 to 10 times... The true number is probably at least 3 million and could even be as high as 10 million people." 

For a new case to be counted, the infected person must be tested and with Brazil and a slew of other countries, the underreporting is due to the lack of testing. The United States is the leader with over 30 million people tested, about 9% of the entire population. Out of that 9%, a total of about 2.5 million cases have been detected or about 7.5% of those tested. The United Kingdom's numbers are 12.6% of the population tested and 3.6% of the tested showing a positive result.

Brazil has tested only 1.26% of its population of 212.5 million people and has a whopping 44.5% infection rate of those tested. It remains to be seen if Brazil’s COVID-19 numbers will become more like those in the U.S. and the U.K. If not, the 10 million cases mentioned by Barbosa is a reasonable estimate.

Other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are now feeling the brunt of the coronavirus:

  • Mexico had reported 6,288 new cases in the past 24 hours, according to its Ministry of Health. The country was also hit with a 7.4 magnitude earthquake on Tuesday
  • Peru exceeded 260,000 coronavirus cases and it has now been under a mandatory lockdown for 100 days
  • Colombia extended its quarantine Tuesday until July 15, as its coronavirus cases continue to climb. The country has registered 2,404 deaths out of more than 73,500 cases

The statistics in the U.S. will play a role in political matters between those who favor a quick re-opening versus those seeking to slow the process to prevent a recurrence of COVID-19. Civil unrest over the George Floyd killing and the presidential election in November will play a role as well.

In Brazil, the path of the pandemic may determine the future political path of President Jair Bolsonaro. A federal judge ordered Bolsonaro, who compared the coronavirus to a "little flu," to wear a face mask in public, after the far-right leader repeatedly flouted containment measures in place in Brasilia.