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Brazil becomes second country to pass 400,000 deaths from COVID-19


SAO PAULO (AP) – Brazil on Thursday became the second country to officially record 400,000 deaths from COVID-19, losing 100,000 more lives in just one month, as some health experts warn there could be days horrible things to come when the southern hemisphere enters winter.

April was the deadliest month in the pandemic in Brazil, with thousands of people losing their lives every day in crowded hospitals.

The country’s health ministry recorded more than 4,000 two-day deaths earlier this month, and its seven-day average topped 3,100. That figure has declined in the past two weeks, to less than 2,400 deaths. per day, although on Thursday the health ministry announced another 3,001 deaths, bringing Brazil’s total to 401,186.

Local health experts have celebrated the recent decline in cases and deaths, as well as the pressure released on Brazil’s healthcare system – but only modestly. They fear a new wave of the disease, like those seen in some European countries, due to a premature resumption of activity in states and cities, combined with the slow roll-out of vaccination.

Less than 6% of Brazilians have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to Our World in Data, an online research site. President Jair Bolsonaro, who is currently under investigation by a Senate committee into his administration’s handling of the crisis, reiterated that he would be the last to be vaccinated and attacked mayors and townspeople. governors who impose restrictions to control the spread of the virus.


MICHAEL DANTAS via Getty Images

A gravedigger walks among the graves of COVID-19 victims at the Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery in Manaus, Amazonas state, Brazil on April 29, 2021.

Shortly after the publication of this grim landmark, Bolsonaro said in a live broadcast on his social media channels that “a large number of deaths have been announced,” adding that he was “sorry for every death. “. But he reiterated his position against the social distancing measures.

“I pray to God that there is no third wave” of the coronavirus, the president said. “But if the lockdown policies continue, this country will be dragged into extreme poverty.”

Epidemiologist Wanderson Oliveira, one of the top health ministry officials at the start of the pandemic, said he expects a third wave to strike by mid-June. He told CBN radio station on Tuesday that the country’s vaccination effort will not prevent another outbreak as many people will not receive vaccines until winter, as rallies and activities indoors. are more common even in the tropical nation.

“Our vaccination is such that in 2022 we may have a much less tragic summer than today,” he said, referring to the past few months.

He added that he expects limited help from partial closures by local leaders, which have yielded weaker results than European-style lockdowns. Many Brazilians have flouted social distancing recommendations and partial closures, even at the height of the pandemic.

Brazil’s immunization program, though a far cry from its triumphant campaigns of decades past, has slowed the rate of deaths among the country’s elderly, according to death certificate data released on Monday. Young people remain unprotected and have started to fall ill in much greater numbers as a more transmissible variant circulates in Brazil.

Adding to concerns, Brazil’s health ministry has repeatedly slashed its short-term vaccine outlook. The country’s two largest laboratories face supply constraints for imports from producers in China and India, which has become the global epicenter of the pandemic.

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