Venezuela shows a better profile against the pandemic than all South American countries in some indicators. Generally, we tend to find out about the number of cases in our country, but it is interesting to make comparisons with neighboring nations to better appreciate the situation itself at any given time.
In the country it will be implemented a relaxation of quarantine due to the covid-19 pandemic during the months of November and December 2021. A similar measure was taken at the end of 2020 and its intention is to stimulate economic activity and contribute to the celebration of the Christmas holidays with the greatest possible well-being. The Government also announced the start of classes at all levels in person starting Monday, October 25.
The Government made these decisions based on vaccination data, which by October 17 reported 53,5% of the population already immunized. Likewise, the goal is to end the month of October with 70% vaccination and by the end of the year the goal is to reach 95%. President Nicolás Maduro affirmed that the country has the required number of doses to make it. In addition, he announced that in January they will begin to apply booster dose.
But, in addition to vaccination, there are other indicators that complete the picture of the pandemic. We are going to review here some data that will draw us the photograph of the epidemiological situation in Venezuela for the date this article is written, on Wednesday, October 20, 2021, five days before the start of classes and 10 days before the beginning of the flexibility.
We use the data from the web portal Worldometers.info, which keeps an updated follow-up of the official data of each country. For our comparative analysis, we take the corresponding information from the 13 countries that make up the South American continental bloc: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela. And the indicators used are: total cases, total deaths, active cases, recovery rate, cases per million inhabitants, deaths per million inhabitants, active cases per million inhabitants, cases per 100 inhabitants, deaths per 100 inhabitants and active cases per 100 thousand inhabitants.
When observing the number of cases registered by each country since the beginning of the pandemic, Venezuela, with 395 thousand 223 cases, is ranked 9, with only Uruguay, Suriname, French Guiana and Guyana having fewer total infections.
Our neighbor Brazil, with 21 million 664 thousand 879 cases, occupies the first place with an abysmal difference from the rest of the countries in the region. Argentina (5 million 274 thousand 766 cases) is second and Colombia (4 million 983 thousand 527).
Regarding the number of deaths from covid-19, Venezuela drops to 10th place, with 4.748. Brazil also ranks first here, with 603 deaths, but this time escorted by Peru, which registers 902. Then come Colombia and Argentina, both with more than 199 deaths.
The other relevant data is the number of active cases. At the time of observation, Venezuela is ranked 8, with 14. It must be said here that this particular table does not include Peru, since there is no data on active cases for that country.
Brazil also leads the account here, with 222 thousand 789. But here the escort changes again, placing Ecuador in second place, with 37 thousand 270. And in third place appears French Guiana, with a scandalous figure of 33 thousand 398 active cases , which is a serious picture taking into account that its total population is just over 300 thousand people.
That is why it is important to take another look at this photograph, but now using proportions. The fact is that Brazil, for example, has more than 214 million inhabitants. Although the irresponsible handling of the pandemic by the government of Jair Bolsonaro has been communicationally evident, which has been pointed out as one of the causes of the levels of contagion in that country, it must be taken into account that the size of the population necessarily it impacts the number of cases and affects any comparison. To get an idea, the country that follows in population is Colombia, and it has 51 million inhabitants, or four times less.
That is why it is useful to look at the data proportionally. For this we use different prevalence rates. Let's first look at the number of cases per million inhabitants.
In this observation, Venezuela presents a better position than all the countries in the region. In addition, we see that Brazil moves to third place, surpassed by Argentina and Uruguay, which register 115 thousand and 112 thousand cases per million inhabitants, respectively.
It should be noted here that in this data we exclude Suriname, Guyana and French Guiana, since these countries have less than one million inhabitants. We will see the complete proportion below, when observing the prevalence per 100 thousand inhabitants.
In this case we see several differences. The most notable is that French Guiana ranks first, with 14 cases per 153 inhabitants. Then the account continues as in the previous case, with Argentina, Colombia and Brazil. We also see that Suriname gets between Chile and Peru, with 100 cases per 7 inhabitants, and Guyana is located between Paraguay and Bolivia, with 968 cases per 100 inhabitants.
Venezuela has the lowest prevalence, with 1.395 cases per 100 inhabitants.
The most significant finding here is that, although the figures for Brazil are staggering and alarming, much more concern should be caused by the situation in French Guiana, which is a very small country with a population of 308 people. There the concentration of the coronavirus is much more intense than in the rest of the region.
However, when we analyze the deaths, we realize that the most critical case is Peru, while French Guiana presents a very good proportion, only surpassed by Venezuela. We look at the proportions, both per million and per 100 inhabitants.
The Andean nation registers at the time of this photograph 5 deaths due to covid-956 per million inhabitants, or what is the same, 19 per 595 inhabitants. Venezuela is also in the last place, that is, in the best position, with 100 deaths per million and 168 per 17 inhabitants.
Now, when we proportionally review the active cases at the time of this analysis, things take a new turn. Ecuador ranks first in terms of active cases per million inhabitants, with 2 thousand 72. Although it is necessary to reiterate that this data is not available for the case of Peru.
Ecuador is followed by Bolivia, Brazil, Chile and Colombia. Then comes Venezuela with 525 and followed by Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay.
When reviewing the scale of active cases per 100 inhabitants, French Guiana again ranks first, and by far, with 10 cases per 819 inhabitants. It is followed by its neighbors Suriname and Guyana. This data highlights the severity of the pandemic in the smallest countries of our region. Venezuela is here in position 100, with 9 active cases per 53 inhabitants, only surpassed by Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay.
The Argentine case is also noteworthy, which goes from being in the first league when total cases are considered, but when observing the prevalence it goes to the last places. This confirms, perhaps more than the case of Brazil, that the size of the population can affect the appreciation of the intensity of the pandemic.
Finally, let's look at the recovery rate, which results from extracting active cases and deaths from total infections. This is expressed in the form of percentages.
Uruguay has the best record, with 98%. Argentina, Colombia and Chile follow with 97%, Brazil and Paraguay with 96%, and Venezuela with 95%. Then come Bolivia with 93% recovery, Guyana with 87%, Ecuador with 86%, Suriname with 57% and at the end of the table is French Guiana, with only 23% recovery.
We can see that our country is in a much more favorable condition than the rest, both in total cases and in deaths from the disease. And as for the percentage of recovery, it is very close to the leading countries, such as Uruguay and Argentina. In this way we can better appreciate the conditions in which we are going towards flexibility and the start of classes. Although it will always be necessary to insist on prevention measures and voluntary vaccination, which in the end are the keys to overcoming the pandemic.