In Rio de Janeiro, bold swimmers have been discouraged from diving into the cold ocean, while Sao Paulo authorities had to open up subway stations to accommodate homeless people as Brazil’s south experienced unusually low temperatures on Friday.
Temperatures on Friday morning dropped below 23 Fahrenheit (-5 Celsius) in Santa Catarina state, covering several municipalities with a thin layer of snow. Earlier this week a fierce hailstorm scared residents of Rio’s west zone. For many Brazilians, accustomed to more clement weather in the tropical South American country, such events are considered extreme.
Earlier this week, authorities in Rio Grande do Sul, canceled soccer matches, closed public buildings early and suspended classes in schools and universities due to fears of major disruptions. There, nearly 182,000 homes were left without electricity on Tuesday.
Temperature began to drop earlier this week as tropical Cyclone Yakecan approached, before being downgraded to a tropical storm on Thursday.
Weather forecasters said the cold wave is trapped by a storm in the country’s South and will extend into next Tuesday, while the Navy expects that 4-meter (13 foot)-tall waves could continue to hit Rio’s shores until Friday night.
Since the cold wave hit Brazil, at least one man has died of hypothermia in Sao Paulo. Some subway stations remained opened on Friday to protect homeless people and charity groups were out delivering soup and blankets to those in need.
Brazil’s National Institute of Meteorology predicted strong winds all Friday between the cities of Rio and Curitiba, 510 miles (820 kilometers) to the south.
A series of earthquakes has been detected in the Caribbean in the last 12 hours, with the latest one recorded at magnitude 5.1 on Saturday morning.
The epicenter of the magnitude 5.1 earthquake was located at 288km North-Northeast of Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis, according to the UWI Seismic Research Centre.
The earthquake was also felt in nearby cities of Antigua and Barbuda, and Guadeloupe.
Hours before the magnitude 5.1 happened, light to moderate earthquakes measuring from magnitudes 3.8 to 4.9 were also detected clustered in the same area as the strong earthquake’s location.
On Friday, a 4.2 magnitude earthquake shook the island of Trinidad and Tobago.
Residents from the islands have begun speculating on what these series of earthquake mean to their islands, and the Center was quick to clarify that the data “just means a release of energy along the fault line at that location.”
The UWI Seismic Research Centre urges residents to visit their website and notify them if the earthquake was felt in their area.
In the last two years, the Caribbean has witnessed three major earthquakes.
Two were in 2020, when a magnitude 7.7 earthquake hit Jamaica, Cuba, and Cayman Islands and a magnitude 6.4 in Puerto Rico.
And then in 2021, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck an already ailing Haiti a little more than a month after its president’s assassination.
Haiti is not stranger to strong earthquakes. In 2010, Haiti was decimated by a magnitude 7 earthquake that killed more than a hundred thousand people.
The Caribbean experiences more earthquakes because this region sits along the fault lines of the Caribbean plate.
“The region has high seismicity and a history of high magnitude earthquakes, including a magnitude 7.5 earthquake centered northwest of Puerto Rico in 1943 and magnitude 8.1 and 6.9 earthquakes north of Hispaniola in 1946 and 1953, respectively,” the NOAA Ocean Exploration explains.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is working closely with countries where cases of the rare viral disease monkeypox have been reported, the UN agency said on Friday. The UN agency said in a statement that there were around 80 cases confirmed so far, across 11 countries, with a further 50 cases pending investigation.
Monkeypox occurs primarily in tropical rainforest areas of Central and West Africa, but outbreaks have emerged in other parts of the world in recent days. Symptoms include fever, rash, and swollen lymph nodes.
WHO said it was “working with the affected countries and others to expand disease surveillance to find and support people who may be affected, and to provide guidance on how to manage the disease.”
The UN health agency stressed that monkeypox spreads differently from COVID-19, encouraging all people “to stay informed from reliable sources, such as national health authorities” on the extent of any outbreak in their own communities.
WHO said in an earlier news release at least eight countries are affected in Europe – Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
No Travel Link
Hans Kluge, Europe Regional Director for the UN agency, said the cases are atypical, citing three reasons.
All but one, are not linked to travel to endemic countries. Many were detected through sexual health services and are among men who have sex with men. Furthermore, it is suspected that transmission may have been ongoing for some time, as the cases are geographically dispersed across Europe and beyond.
Most of the cases are so far mild, he added.
“monkeypox is usually a self-limiting illness, and most of those infected will recover within a few weeks without treatment,” said Dr. Kluge. “However, the disease can be more severe, especially in young children, pregnant women, and individuals who are immunocompromised.”
Working To Limit Transmission
WHO is working with the concerned countries, including to determine the likely source of infection, how the virus is spreading, and how to limit further transmission.
Countries are also receiving guidance and support on surveillance, testing, infection prevention and control, clinical management, risk communication and community engagement.
Concern Over Summer Uptickmonkeypox virus is mostly transmitted to humans from wild animals such as rodents and primates. It is also spread between humans during close contct – through infected skin lesions, exhaled droplets or body fluids, including sexual contact – or through contact with contaminated materials such as bedding.
People suspected of having the disease should be checked and isolated.
“As we enter the summer season in the European Region, with mass gatherings, festivals and parties, I am concerned that transmission could accelerate, as the cases currently being detected are among those engaging in sexual activity, and the symptoms are unfamiliar to many,” said Dr. Kluge.
He added that handwashing, as well as other measures implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, are also critical to reduce transmission in healthcare settings.
Cases In Other Regions
Australia, Canada, and the United States are also among non-endemic countries that have reported cases of monkeypox.
The US detected its first case for the year after a man in the northeastern state of Massachusetts tested positive on Tuesday following recent travel to Canada.
Health authorities in New York City, home to UN Headquarters, are also investigating a possible case after a patient at a hospital tested positive on Thursday.
The US recorded two monkeypox cases in 2021, both related to travel from Nigeria.
World Health Organisation estimates 15 million people have died directly or indirectly from coronavirus
The World Health Organisation estimates that 15 million people worldwide have now died of coronavirus – or as a result of its impact on health services.
WHO data shows the number of excess COVID mortalities to be somewhere between 13.3 million and 16.6 million people from January 1 2020 to December 31 2021. This is more than double the official death toll of around six million.
According to WHO The figures were compiled using country-reported data and statistical modelling.
There were 14.9 million excess deaths associated with COVID-19 by the end of 2021, the UN body said on Thursday.
According to the figures Most excess COVID deaths (86%) happened in Asia, Europe and the Americas.