Brazil’s Coronavirus Death Toll Passes 4,000 a Day for First Time
By Staff, Agencies
Brazil’s coronavirus catastrophe deepened further after more than 4,000 daily deaths were reported for the first time since the outbreak began in February last year.
At least 4,195 people were reported to have lost their lives on Tuesday, taking Brazil’s total death toll – the world’s second highest after the US – to nearly 337,000.
Brazil also reported 86,979 new infections. Experts fear a record 100,000 Brazilians could lose their lives this month alone if nothing is done.
“It’s a nuclear reactor that has set off a chain reaction and is out of control. It’s a biological Fukushima,” said Miguel Nicolelis, a Brazilian doctor and professor at Duke University in the US, who is closely tracking the virus.
Despite the growing crisis, Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, continues to resist the idea of a lockdown and downplay the epidemic. “In which country aren’t people dying?” he said last week.
Brazil, which has 212 million citizens compared with the US’s 328 million, is expected to overtake the US weekly average for daily deaths in the coming days.
Covid-19 patients are using more than 90% of beds in intensive care units in most Brazilian states, though figures have stabilized over the past week. Still, hundreds of people are dying as they wait for care and basic supplies such as oxygen and sedatives are running out in several states.
Less than 3% of Brazil’s 210 million people have received both doses of coronavirus vaccines, according to Our World in Data, an online research site.
Over the weekend, Supreme Court justices started a tug of war about the reopening of religious buildings, which were closed by many local authorities despite a federal government decision to label them as essential services.
Some churches welcomed their faithful on Easter Sunday, but others were stopped by mayors and governors. Their reopening will be settled at the Supreme Court on Wednesday, but some local councils, such as Belo Horizonte, voted on Tuesday to keep religious buildings open.