Data released from Peru’s Ministry of Health through January 25 shows that the expected increase from the holiday season is possibly beginning to see a leveling off.
Keep in mind that this is based on only a few days’ data, but past trends of a few days have generally been good indicators of longer term trends.
First the bad news. As is always the case, deaths are the trailing indicator of infections rates. The rate of deaths always follows some time later after a rise in infections and hospitalizations.
Unfortunately, the number of daily deaths is rising at a rate that I think surprises everyone. On the most recent day reported (Monday), 220 COVID-19 deaths were reported.
So far, January is seeing an average of over 95 deaths a day. Obviously, with this trend that number is going to climb much, much higher before the end of the month as there are no signs that this is even close to leveling off.
Unfortunately, there isn’t really any good news, but there is some news that is a little better than it’s been and gives hope that things may start to improve.
Hospitalizations have declined over the past two days. Considering the drastic rise over several weeks, this is a good sign, especially since, while bed availability was getting close to full, it had not reach full capacity.
The number of COVID patients under ICU care continues to rise very slowly, but this is still likely due to the fact that ICU capacity is completely full in many parts of the country. Sadly, often ICU beds become available when a patient dies.
There are signs that the positivity rate of testing is starting to level off. There have been some significant daily variations that have skewed the graph, but in general the trend is no longer increasing. It’s a little hard to see from the chart below because those wild high and low numbers for single days cause big dips and rises, but its much clearer when looking at the daily numbers.
Another encouraging sign is that the number of known active cases of COVID-19 in Peru has decreased over the past couple of days.
Again, two or three days don’t mean much, but after several weeks of constant increases, they are a welcome break and, in the past, have been indicative of developing trends.
The post-holiday increase in cases was expected and predicted quite while back. As long as things have gone back to what they were before, a peak and then a decrease are also likely to start showing up about now.
The wild cards in all of this are, of course, the mutations that are already present in Peru. The UK variant has been confirmed. It is considered to be a more contagious variant of COVID-19 and there are indications that it is a more deadly strain, too.
Even more worrisome is the Brazilian variant (known as the P1 variant). As Brazil shares an extensive and porous border with Peru, this variant has shown signs of re-infecting those who have already experienced COVID-19 infection. I don’t think it’s presence in Peru has been confirmed, but it’s almost unimaginable that it is not here.
Unless there is a major shift one way or the other, I don’t plan to do an update until data is released through the end of the month. I am hopefully that things will begin to show improvements in this time, but as we’ve all learned, COVID-19 has it’s own timeline.