More than 100,000 Sars-CoV-2 infections in a 24-hour period were reported Thursday in Brazil for the first time since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic which has already killed over 300,000 people nationwide.
The federal Health Ministry's report released Thursday showed that the total number of infections reached 12.3 million, with 100,158 new cases and 2,777 fatalities in 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 303,462.
Brazil is reportedly second only to the United States in the number of covid-19 deaths and infections and the situation worsens by the hour. It is believed that President Jair Bolsonaro's disregard for recommendations from health experts has played a major role in the ferocity of the outbreak.
The daily average of infections in seven days is currently 77,050, twice as many as in early January (36,003) with deaths surged from 703 in January to 2,280.
Several states, including Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, decreed ten public holidays from Friday 26 to April 4.
Bolsonaro, under fire for having disdained the use of masks, promoting agglomerations with his followers and endorsing the use of drugs without proven efficacy against covid, Wednesday appointed a committee of experts to change the government's course of action and speed up vaccination.
But he maintained his criticism of partial quarantine measures taken at local levels. He has also repeatedly questioned the effectiveness of the vaccines.
If the policy of radically closing everything continues, we do not know where our Brazil will end up, Bolsonaro said. But I want to be clear: we want to fight the virus, he added.
The total number of deaths is projected to break the 400,000 barrier by May, according to Carlos Machado, head of the Fiocruz Institute's Covid-19 Observatory, who favoured tighter measures such as full scale lockdowns.
The speed at which the number of deaths is increasing is serious, if this rate is maintained in two months or perhaps in less than two months we can calmly reach 400,000 deaths, this is a true tragedy, said Machado. He added that lockdown is a bitter remedy, but it's the only effective remedy against the pandemic.
Machado also warned that the P1 or Amazonian strain of the virus may mutate, giving rise to a more aggressive variant that demands new vaccines.