Peru braces for “very likely” second wave of coronavirus

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It is the country with the highest mortality rate in the world. Although they began the reopening after a long quarantine, they observe the reappearance in Europe.

Although the coronavirus epidemic has entered a decline phase in Peru, the country’s health authorities are preparing for a “highly probable” second wave, similar to the one already occurring in Europe, which they attribute to the behavior of the population and the application of deconfinement measures.

The Peruvian Deputy Minister of Public Health, Luis Suárez, presented on Friday a plan for preparing and responding to a possible second wave in Peru, the country with the highest mortality rate in the world and the sixth in detected cases of the epidemic.

Although Suárez said that experts cannot assure that another epidemic wave “will happen like this,” he remarked that for him “it is highly probable” that it will occur.

“I could qualify it as highly probable, but it depends on the susceptible population that we have in the country, as long as we have a population without antibodies and the virus exists in the world, there is a risk of a new pandemic wave,” he emphasized.

The deputy minister remarked that “the behavior of large epidemics is unpredictable,” so Peru is taking all the forecasts after seeing “what is happening in Europe.”

“When they had the first wave and it began to diminish rapidly, nobody knew what was going to happen,” he indicated before detailing that Peruvian experts permanently review European epidemiological bulletins and “what is happening around the world.”

He explained that when epidemiologists detect that a phenomenon is repeated in several countries, that means that the “determinants and causes behind it are common.”

He commented, in this regard, that the new increase in cases in European countries such as Spain and France is attributed “to the behavior of the population and to having taken very rapid de-escalation measures.”

Given these international experiences, the Peruvian health authorities emphasize that their mission is “to be alert to what may happen”, since it is estimated that a second wave can occur in the country for up to six months.

The director of the National Epidemiology Center, Luis Rodríguez, reported that given the decrease in cases in the country, they are seeking to determine how many people can still be infected.

“For us that value of susceptible people is still being speculated,” he said, adding that a prevalence study determined that 75% of the 10 million inhabitants of Lima have not been infected, “but in the rest of the country probably that be less “.

The specialist said that “the behavior of the population before the release of restrictive measures” should also be considered, although the possibility of using a vaccine in the coming months the possibility of a second wave will diminish.

“What is going to happen is that we have small peaks, since we have populations to which the disease has still reached on a small scale,” he said.

On the other hand, Vice Minister Suárez assured that in his country fewer molecular tests are being taken to detect the disease due to the decrease in cases that reach medical centers.

“If the tests have decreased, it is not because any indication has been given, but because the suspected cases that reach hospitals are decreasing,” he remarked in response to the criticism that has been presented in recent days regarding the lesser amount of molecular tests that are processed daily.

Suárez said that “doing random tests on the population (which has not been infected) does not make sense” and reiterated that Peru is “in the decline phase of the epidemic.”

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