Brazil has surpassed India to become the second worst-hit country from the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic. With 11,483,370 cases and 278,327 deaths, Brazil is now one spot behind the United States, which is the worst-affected globally with more than 30 million cases and 546,605 deaths, according to figures by WorldMeters.
Brazil on Saturday recorded 76,178 fresh cases and 1,997 deaths and the Indian figures of infections and fatalities stood at 24,882 and 140 respectively. Brazil is currently facing the worst phase of the pandemic. Infections and deaths have spiked after the year-end gatherings and clandestine carnival festivities. On Friday, Brazil saw deaths crossing the 2,000-mark or 2,216 for the third consecutive day and 85,663 were found out to be positive for the infection, the second-highest single-day count.
Since 2020 when Covid-19 became a global health crisis, President Jair Bolsonaro and his government has been criticized for not handling the pandemic properly. Restrictions and curbs in Brazil are different for different cities and are often found to be eased only to be re-imposed weeks later. No stringent norms have been laid out yet to combat the outbreak and the Brazilian president on the other hand, is telling governors to allow business activities to re-open across the country with a logic that the economic toll of the pandemic overshadows the effects of the disease if people don’t go to work.
The World Health Organization’s (WHO) director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday that all residents of Brazil should take the situation seriously and pointed out neighboring countries might be affected. Speaking at a news conference in Geneva, Tedros stated, “Unless serious measures are taken the upward trend now flooding the health system and becoming more than its capacity will result in more deaths”.
As countries are rushing towards administering vaccine doses to their fellow citizens with a view to preventing the resurgence of the virus, Brazil has been behind on this count as well. Inoculations started very late in the country with a limited number of doses, which were not sufficient to even administer to the priority groups. Just over 4% of the total population of 211 million has been inoculated till now.
“Brazil is one of the few countries in the world with the capacity to make vaccines, and we want that,” Bolsonaro, who has refused to get vaccinated, said. The doses in the country are currently confined to China’s CoronaVac, which is being made by Sinovac, and jabs of the British-Swedish based pharmaceutical AstraZeneca.