Are doctors mistaking dengue fever for Covid-19?

by Ariel Lazari

Since the 1980s, Brazil has been fighting a dangerous epidemic called dengue fever, a disease caused by a virus and transmitted by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito. Every year Brazilian authorities make great efforts to educate the population about the precautions one should take to avoid mosquito proliferation, and thus also the transmission of dengue fever.

The picture has been the same in the last years: during the rainy season (from March to May) Brazilian health authorities have to cope with a great amount of dengue fever cases. Many times they fail to hospitalise and isolate all the infected patients, which have to simply wait to be healed naturally at home, risking the spread of the disease to more people.

Two years ago (2019) Brazil had 1,527,119 cases of dengue fever, most of them during the rainy season. Last year, however, the incidence of this disease drastically decreased by March, as indicated by the following graph taken from a periodical bulletin published earlier this month by the Brazilian Health Ministry.

This graph shows the number of dengue fever cases by week in 2019 (gray bars) and 2020 (red line). Even though dengue fever outbreaks can achieve different levels each year (for example in 2018 we had about 250,000 cases, while in 2015 the number was greater than 1,7 million) the numbers this year are more surprising for two reasons.

First, 2020’s numbers are higher than 2019’s record in the first ten weeks of the year, but they fell drastically in the eleventh week. The tendency observed was that last year the overall number of cases would be higher than 2019, but for some mysterious reason dengue fever diagnoses have been rarer and rarer since March – the same month coronavirus diagnoses started to pop up all over the country faster and faster.

Second, it could be the first time that dengue fever’s peak was before the rainy season. The number has decreased continuously since March, even though the prevalence of mosquitoes increases with the rainy months.

Given these two curiosities about dengue fever in 2020, one can ask whether physicians are unconsciously inflating Covid numbers because of understandable misdiagnoses. Dengue fever’s symptoms are very similar to Covid’s  – headaches, fever, exhaustion, and diarrhea – and any doctor could mistake these for Covid if no proof test is taken.

At this point, one can also ask whether other diseases are currently counted among the Covid numbers. If dengue fever, a serious disease with periodic outbreaks always in the same season, could have been overshadowed by coronavirus, why not other recurrent and similar infirmities? A quick check showed me that in Brazil last year deaths from pneumonia were 20 per cent lower than in 2019. This is another coincidence that sparks a yellow alert on the reliability of official Covid numbers.

All the world seemed to rush into lockdowns and believing we are facing the most terrible epidemic in human history. However, there are strong signs showing we should reconsider this idea and at least avoid accepting all the conclusions mainstream media and government authorities are trying to foist on us.

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