Brazil broke its previous daily record with 4,195 Covid-19-related deaths, data from the Health Ministry showed Tuesday – marking the highest number of deaths in the world for this 24-hour period, according to Johns Hopkins University . The new figures brought the total number of deaths from the pandemic in Brazil to nearly 337,000.
In addition, nearly 87,000 new cases of Covid-19 have been reported across the country, bringing the total number of infections to 13,100,580, according to the Department of Health.
Bolsonaro, who has continued to downplay the severity of his country’s health crisis, has brushed aside claims he was responsible for the growing death toll in the country. The president has repeatedly opposed lockdowns and restrictive measures and criticized governors and mayors with insulting language for their implementation.
“They called me homophobic, racist, fascist, torturer and now … what is it now? Now I’m … someone who kills a lot of people? Genocidal . Now I am genocidal, ”he told supporters. outside the presidential palace in Brasilia on Tuesday evening, according to a video posted on YouTube.
Several political opponents of Bolsonaro accused him of “genocide”, using the term loosely to characterize the consequences of his response to Covid-19.
“Why am I not blamed here in Brazil?” Bolsonaro asked rhetorically in the video.
The Brazilian leader seemed to imply that the pandemic was a media invention that could be solved by providing organizations with government grants.
“I can fix the virus problem in a matter of minutes. I just have to pay what governments have paid in the past to Globo, to Folha [de São Paulo], O Estado de São Paulo, ”he said, referring to a national broadcaster and two São Paulo-based newspapers.. “Now this money is not for the press, it is for something else.”
And he was defiant in his stance on the restrictions, saying he disagreed with supporters of social distancing measures, and arguing – wrongly – that states that have imposed tighter restrictions are experiencing rates. higher mortality rates.
“Which state has locked the most? São Paulo. Which has the highest number of deaths, proportionately? São Paulo,” he falsely asserted.
Although São Paulo has the highest absolute death toll, it ranks 10th for the number of deaths per capita.
About a third of the deaths reported on Tuesday were in São Paulo, where 1,389 people died in 24 hours, according to state government data – a record for the highest number of deaths in a single day in any one. which Brazilian state.
It comes despite the state imposing more restrictive measures a month ago, including shutting down businesses that deal directly with the public, such as shops, restaurants and bars.
Bolsonaro also said the lockdown would be counterproductive as people would be more vulnerable to the virus.
“I have seen recent research that found that those who lead a healthy lifestyle are eight times less likely to have problems with Covid,” he said. “You lock people up at home … what is he doing at home? I doubt they haven’t increased their weight a bit, from last year to this year.”
“Even I got my stomach a bit bigger,” he joked.
The record-breaking daily tally comes as hospitals and intensive care units (ICUs) in some cities turn away patients and the country’s entire healthcare system is on the brink of collapse. Brazil is grappling with several new variants, some of which scientists say are more contagious. Young people appear to be more seriously ill than at the start of the pandemic, although it is not clear what role variants may play in this trend.
As of Tuesday evening, 23 of Brazil’s 27 federations reported an intensive care unit occupancy rate of 80% or more. Of these, 15 have collapsed or are on the verge of collapse, with intensive care occupancy of over 90%. Mato Grosso do Sul is already in overcapacity, while only four states have less than 80% occupancy.
The vaccine deployment program in Brazil has also been hampered by delays.
Bolsonaro expressed interest in acquiring the Russian Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine on Tuesday during a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Bolsonaro added that the shooting would need approval in the country first.
“We finalize communications with others [health] authorities, including Anvisa, on how we can efficiently import this vaccine, ”Bolsonaro said, referring to Brazil’s health regulatory agency.
Global cases of Covid-19 have increased for the sixth week in a row, according to the World Health Organization’s weekly epidemiological update on Tuesday. Brazil, the United States, Turkey, France and India report the highest numbers of cases.