• Jun Park

Covid-19 in Latin America

Updated: Apr 4, 2020

Article translated from El Pais.

This is how the curve of the coronavirus is evolving in Colombia, Mexico, Chile, Brazil and the rest of Latin America.

The coronavirus is in its exponential growth phase in many countries. In Chile the cases have doubled in the last 2 days, same as Brazil, Peru, and Colombia. the key now is to follow closely the evolution of the curve of confirmed and deaths, will they grow in an accelerated pace or will they slow?

Here you can see the evolution of cases confirmed in countries that have registered at least 20 cases in one day.

Source : El Pais
COVID-19 Latin America (Linear)

COVID-19 Latin America (Logarithmic)

The interactive version which shows Linear and Logarithmic scales in the original site.

The graph compares the pace of the epidemic in all the Latinamerican countries that have registered atleast 20 confirmed cases since the beginning of the outbreak.

In Spain and South Korea they grew with a similar pace at first. But their evolution after shows that every country can be different: while in Spain the infection rate keeps on accelerating, while in the asian country it is slowing. If the curve of one country maintains in a straight light in the logarithmic graph, we know that the sick are doubling periodically. In the case of Spain, for example, where the lock-down measures had not yet been implemented. In Korea, contrasting, the slope is slowing down.

It is important to understand that we are talking about confirmed cases. We are measuring two phenomenons (events) at the same time : the increase of real infected in each country and the capacity to detect them by the authorities. At the beginning of an outbreak it is usual to have a temporary peak in confirmed cases when you accelerate the rate of testing.

Outbreaks in each country

Brazil is the country in Latinamerica registering the most cases of infected by the coronovairus. But the rate in which the cases are increasing, for the moment, is similar to that of other countries: the slopes of the countries are in a straight light in the logarithmic scale.

Cases confirmed. In Spain and the country. (Logarithmic scale)

Outbreaks per country

The timelines for doubling

The following graph measures the rate of outbreaks in each country. To do so we use what is called as the "doubling time". It means, every how many days are the cases doubling in terms of confirmed cases. It is a set of data that can oscillate at first, but starts eventually converging into a figure after three days. As the pandemic outbreak growth in speed, this means that if a Saturday there are 4,000 cases, we should expect 8,000 cases by Tuesday, and 16,000 by next weekend.

Doubling time. How many days it takes for cases to double in each country.

The Goal : Reduce the transmission of the virus

The doubling time is not unmovable. A virus has the contagious potential depending on its nature and its host - people -. But a pandemic at the same time is also a social phenomenon: its exit depends on how we behave. That is why we have quarantines, the closing of schools and teleworking. These are social-distancing measures that reduce the contact between people and limit the transmission of the virus. That is why it is important for us all to obey the quarantines and follow the quarantine directions to protect our communities.

The personal analysis indicates that face masks