Blacks are 1.5 times more likely to die from Covid-19 in Brazil, says OECD

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The Covid-19 pandemic caused 2.5 million deaths or 16% more than expected for 2020 and the first half of 2021 in 43 countries — 38 of them members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and 5 partners , among them Brazil.

The main victims of the disease were the elderly and the poorest and minority ethnic populations, according to the report Health at a Glance, from the OECD, released on Tuesday (9).

In Brazil, the risk of mortality from Covid-19 was 1.5 times higher in the black population, although there is a higher incidence rate among the white population, and Brazilian blacks and browns admitted to hospitals had 1.3 times to 1, 5 times greater risk of mortality compared to white Brazilians”, describes the report.

The OECD also points out that the Covid-19 pandemic caused a decrease in life expectancy and a great adverse impact on the mental health of residents of these nations.

“The pandemic contributed directly and indirectly to a 16% increase in the expected number of deaths in 2020 and the first half of 2021 in OECD countries. Life expectancy has fallen in 24 of 30 countries with comparable data, with particularly large drops in the US (-1.6 year) and Spain (-1.5 year),” according to the report.

Populations considered vulnerable were the most affected by the pandemic in the organization’s countries, corresponding to more than 90% of the registered and deaths by Covid-19 occurred among people aged 60 years or more.

“There was also a clear social gradient, with disadvantaged people, those living in deprived areas and most ethnic minorities and immigrants at greater risk of infection and death,” the study described.

The OECD, headquartered in Paris, France, is an international organization made up of 38 member countries, which brings together the most advanced economies in the world. Despite not being an official OECD member, Brazil has been considered a key partner since 2007, along with China, India, Indonesia, Russia and South Africa.

OECD members are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea , Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States.

Brazil x rich countries

Also according to the report, Brazil recorded a 20% drop in childhood vaccination coverage in April-May 2020 compared to January February 2020. In England, for example, the 12-month coverage for hexavalent vaccination it dropped just 0.1% in 2020 compared to 2019.

“This suggests that, in most OECD countries, the impact on vaccination campaigns in low- and middle-income countries is likely to be much more significant, with potentially important negative consequences for child health outcomes and the spread of preventable diseases ​​for vaccines,” says the OECD.

The gender gap in life expectancy and educational attainment in Brazil is one of the largest among OECD partner countries, according to the report. While it is less than four years in Scandinavian countries, in the United Kingdom, Holland and Iceland, in Brazil it is seven years.

However, gender differences were much greater in Central and Eastern European countries – mainly in Lithuania and Latvia (over 9 years), Estonia (8.5 years) and Poland (7.8 years).

“This is due in part to greater exposure to risk factors among men — particularly increased tobacco use, binge drinking and less healthy diets — resulting in more deaths from heart disease, cancer and other illnesses,” according to report.

Vaccine and Long Covid

Vaccination against Covid-19, in turn, managed to reduce the risk of serious illnesses and death from the disease, with the participation of fully vaccinated people, reaching more than 70% in 9 OECD countries and in 15 already starting vaccination with the third dose. Brazil was not mentioned in this survey.

Evidence suggests that while vaccines are somewhat less effective against stopping symptomatic disease from the delta variant, they have still proved highly effective (over 90%) against hospital admissions, according to the report.

Impacts on mental health

But the document also points out the great impact of the pandemic on mental health.

“The impact of the pandemic on mental health was enormous, with prevalence of anxiety and depression more than double the levels observed before the crisis in most countries with available data, most notably in Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States” .

Long-term Covid – Covid-19 symptoms that persist for weeks or months – has, in turn, made the path to recovery slow and difficult, according to the OECD report.

In the UK, for example, 1.1 million people (1.7% of the population) have reported symptoms of Covid long since the start of the pandemic, describes the OECD.

In the United States, a recent survey estimated that 37% of patients experienced at least one Covid-19 symptom 4 to 6 months after diagnosis.

Lifestyle and health impacts

Unhealthy lifestyles and poor environmental conditions continued to worsen quality of life, shorten lives and make populations less resilient to health shocks, especially Covid-19 infection.

Smoking, harmful use of alcohol and obesity were the causes of many chronic conditions, and increased the risk of people dying from Covid-19. Daily smoking rates have declined in most OECD countries over the past decade, yet 17% smoke daily. Rates reached 25% or more in Turkey, Greece, Hungary, Chile and France.

Brazil emerges as one of the countries with the highest incidence of diabetes cases among the surveyed nations.

“Among OECD member countries, the prevalence of diabetes is highest in Mexico, Turkey and the United States, with more than 10% of adults living with diabetes (age-standardized data). For OECD partner countries, the prevalence of diabetes is also high in South Africa, India and Brazil, around 10% or more”.

Infant mortality rates are low in most OECD countries, although seven member countries reported at least five deaths per 1,000 live births: Slovak Republic, United States, Chile, Costa Rica, Turkey, Mexico and Colombia.

In OECD member countries, however, infant mortality rates are often higher among indigenous populations, ethnic minority populations and other vulnerable groups such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States.

Brazil reported twice that, with over ten deaths per 1,000 inhabitants. However, a lower rate than other OECD partner countries whose infant mortality remains above 20 deaths per 1,000 live births in Indonesia, South Africa and India.

Reference: CNN Brasil

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