In Brazil, more contagious variants have spurred a surge in cases, recording the first more than 4,000 Covid-related deaths in 24 hours.
Hospitals are crowded, people have died waiting for treatment in some cities, and health care systems are on the verge of collapse in many areas.
Currently, the country has a total death toll of about 337,000, second only to the United States.
However, President Jair Bolsonaro continues to oppose blockade measures to curb the outbreak.
He argued that the damage to the economy would be worse than the effects of the virus itself, and sought to undo some of the restrictions imposed by local governments in court.
He spoke with supporters outside the presidential palace on Tuesday, criticizing quarantine measures and proposing them without evidence of being associated with obesity and depression. He did not comment on the 4,195 deaths recorded in the last 24 hours.
According to the Ministry of Health, more than 13 million cases of coronavirus have been recorded in Brazil so far. About 66,570 people died of Covid-19 in March, More than double the previous month’s record.
“Brazil is now a threat to the entire international community’s efforts to control the pandemic,” Dr. Miguel Nicolelis, who is closely tracking the country’s case, told the BBC.
“If Brazil isn’t under control, we’re brewing new variants every week, so the planet wouldn’t be safe … and they would cross the border,” he said.
How is the situation in Brazil?
In most states, Covid-19 patients make up more than 90% of beds in the intensive care unit. According to the Institute of Health Fiocrus (Portuguese).
Some states have reported shortages of oxygen and sedatives. However, despite the crisis, some cities and states have already relaxed measures to limit the movement of people.
“The fact is that the story of President Jair Bolsonaro’s anti-lockdown has won,” Miguel Lago, secretary-general of the Brazilian Institute for Health Policy, who advises public health officials, told The Associated Press.
“The mayor and governor are politically banned from strengthening social distance policies because they know that supporters of the president, including business leaders, will interfere with them,” he said.
The far-right president downplayed the virus, questioned vaccines, and defended drugs that had not been proven as a cure, but fell in popularity amid intense criticism of dealing with the crisis.
He recently changed his vaccination trends and promised to make 2021 the year of vaccination. However, the country is struggling to deploy the program.
Critics say his government was late in negotiating supplies. Only about 8% of the population receives at least one dose, According to Our World in Data Tracker.
Epidemiologist Etherl Maciel told AFP Communications that Brazil is in a “terrible situation.” .. “
What are Brazilian variants?
Fiocruz states that it has detected 92 variants of coronavirus in the country, including P.1 or Brazilian variants. This is a source of concern as it is considered to be much more contagious.
According to figures analyzed by Brazilian researchers, it appeared in the state of Amazonas in November 2020, spread rapidly in the state capital Manaus, and is believed to have accounted for 73% of cases by January 2021.
Experts fear that the surge in Brazilian variants means an increase in cases for several months.
Dr. Nicoleris, who until recently was the coordinator of the pandemic response team in northeastern Brazil, told the BBC that the country’s response was a “total disaster.”
“It’s the greatest human tragedy in Brazilian history,” he said.
“By July 1, 500,000 people could die. This is the latest estimate,” he said. “But the University of Washington released an estimate on Friday that suggests that a 600,000 death could occur if the infection rate rises by about 10%.”
Brazilian variants too It is associated with a surge in infections and mortality in many South American countries.