- BBC News World
The number of deaths related to covid-19 exceeded 500,000 in Brazil, the second highest in the world, while experts say the outbreak could still worsen due to slow vaccination and the onset of winter.
The virus continues to spread as President Jair Bolsonaro refuses to endorse measures such as social distancing.
The Fiocruz health institute says the situation is “critical.” Only 15% of adults are fully vaccinated.
On Twitter, the Minister of Health, Marcelo Queiroga, expressed solidarity with the “fathers, mothers, friends and relatives” of the deceased. “500,000 lives lost due to the pandemic that affects our Brazil and the entire world,” he wrote on the social network.
The outbreak in Brazil was fueled by more transmissible variants of the virus, including the one that was first identified in the country’s Amazon region and is now known as Gamma.
In the last week there was a average of 70,000 cases diaries.
“Brazil faces a critical community transmission scenario … with the possibility of worsening in the coming weeks due to the onset of winter,” Fiocruz reported.
The intensive care unit bed occupancy rate remains at or above 80% in most states, and experts warn that the onset of winter in the southern hemisphere next week could result in more infections.
Only the US recorded more deaths related to covid-19.
The daily average of deaths in Brazil has been above 1,500 since March. Gonzalo Vecina, former head of the health regulator Anvisa, said that the slow progress of the vaccine program had cost and will continue to cost lives.
“There are 500,000 deaths and, unfortunately, it will continue to increase because it will take a while to increase vaccination coverage. Perhaps this year will also be difficult because we depend on the delivery of vaccines, which were purchased very late,” he said.
Protest against Bolsonaro
On Saturday, thousands of people protested across the country against the Bolsonaro government and to demand the acceleration of the vaccination program. Many cities face an insufficient number of doses.
“He took too long to buy the vaccine,” Denise Azevedo, a protester in Rio de Janeiro, told Reuters news agency.
“Herd immunity will be useless. The only immunity you can get is with the vaccine. There is no early treatment. I have lost friends, I almost lost a cousin … people were left orphaned, fatherless, motherless, and without children. “
Other protesters directed their anger at President Bolsonaro for his general management of the pandemic.
“His position on the covid and his denial are absurd. He has abandoned reality and common sense,” Robert Almeida, a 50-year-old photographer who marched in Rio, told the AFP news agency.
Bolsonaro was harshly criticized for failing to implement a coordinated national response and for his skepticism towards vaccines, lockdowns and the use of masks, which he has tried to soften.
The president argues that the impact of confinements In the economy it would be worse than the virus and he insists that he has done everything possible to buy vaccines in several countries.
But the opposition accuses him of delaying vaccine orders for political reasons, as he has always downplayed the severity of the pandemic.
Congress is investigating the government’s handling of the pandemic.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.