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Brazil - COVID-19

COVID graveyard The coronavirus variant behind Brazil’s ferocious second wave of COVID-19 emerged, in part, because of relaxed social distancing, according to an analysis of viral sequences from the outbreak’s epicentre. In late 2020, researchers first spotted the P.1 variant — also called Gamma — in people who returned to Japan from Manaus, the capital of Brazil’s Amazonas state. Since P.1 emerged, scientists have found evidence that it is more transmissible than some other variants, and evades antibodies more easily. Infections caused by the variant overwhelmed Manaus, which had already experienced one of the world’s highest documented rates of SARS-CoV-2 infection in its first wave.

Thousands of people have taken to the streets across Brazil 20 June 2021 to protest against President Jair Bolsonaro’s pandemic response as the country’s COVID-19 death toll surpassed 500,000. Protesters across the country blasted the administration for the high death toll and called for the removal of the president. Brazil has registered 500,800 deaths from 17,883,750 confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to health ministry data on Saturday, the worst official death toll outside the United States. Over the previous, Brazil has averaged 2,000 deaths per day. Some 11 percent of Brazilians were fully vaccinated and 29 percent had received a first dose, health ministry data showed.

Brazil on 29 April 2021 became the second country to pass 400,000 COVID-19 deaths after the United States, and experts warned the daily toll could remain high for several months due to slow vaccinations and loosening social restrictions. Brazil’s COVID-19 deaths had fallen slightly from a peak of more than 4,000 in a single day in early April, prompting many local governments to ease lockdowns. But infectious disease experts warned that this easing will keep deaths elevated for months as vaccines alone cannot be counted on to contain the virus. Two experts said they expected deaths to continue to average above 2,000 per day. “What will Brazil do now? Go back to easing restrictions and that will stabilize us at 2,000 deaths per day, as if 2,000 deaths from a single disease in one day is normal,” said epidemiologist Pedro Hallal.

Brazil on 29 August 2020 became the second country in the world, after the US, to register more than 120,000 deaths from coronavirus. Health experts are concerned about the slow and steady pace at which the South American country's pandemic is progressing. Over 3.8 million infections have been registered in the country of 212 million, with 120,262 deaths.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tested positive for Coronavirus. Bolsonaro, who had consistently downplayed the dangers of the virus, revealed his positive test result during nationally televised remarks 07 July 2020. "It came back positive," he told reporters from behind a mask. "It began with some indisposition on Sunday and worsened on Monday, with fatigue, fever, and muscle pain," Bolsonaro explained. Nevertheless, the president still considers that attention given to the pandemic in Brazil is exaggerated, even though the South American nation has become one of the world's disease hotspots due to his policies.

Brazil's death toll from the novel coronavirus surged past 34,000 to become the third-highest in the world, surpassing Italy's, according to official figures released 04 June 2020. The country reported a new record of 1,473 deaths in 24 hours, bringing its overall toll to 34,021, behind only the United States and Britain. Brazil haf now confirmed 614,941 infections, the health ministry said -- the second-largest caseload in the world, behind the US. Experts say under-testing in Brazil means the real numbers are probably much higher.

Sao Paulo graveyardWith Brazil's Covid-19 death toll surpassing 25,000 on 27 May 2020, sometimes at the rate of more than 1,000 per day, the World Health Organization has declared it the "most affected" country in South America, the new epicentre of the coronavirus. Dr. Miguel Nicolelis, a well-known Brazil researcher, described the pandemic as "the worst war Brazil has ever faced.... We never lost 25,000 people in a span of three months," he told the AFP news agency. He said the virus "came like an invading army, and it's invading the whole of the country."

The poorest and most isolated Brazilians are paying a heavy price, while President Jair Bolsonaro continues to downplay the severity of the pandemic. Brazil is grappling with the Covid-19 crisis at a time of political turmoil. Despite the coronavirus threat, President Jair Bolsonaro is often seen shaking hands and embracing his supporters. Bolsonaro has been widely criticised for his cavalier approach to hygiene measures.

Brazil daily coronavirus deaths were higher than fatalities in the US for the first time on 26 May 2020, according to the country’s Health Ministry. Brazil registered 807 deaths over the last 24 hours, whereas 620 died in the US. Brazil now had the second worst outbreak in the world, with 374,898 cases, behind the US with 1.6 million cases. A University of Washington study warned that total death toll could surge five-fold by early August, climbing to 125,000 dead.

The forecast from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, released as Brazil’s daily death toll climbed past that of the United States on Monday, came with a call for lockdowns that Brazil’s president had resisted. “Brazil must follow the lead of Wuhan, China, as well as Italy, Spain, and New York by enforcing mandates and measures to gain control of a fast-moving epidemic and reduce transmission of the coronavirus,” wrote IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray. Without such measures, the institute’s model shows Brazil’s daily death toll could keep climbing to until mid-July, driving shortages of critical hospital resources in Brazil, he said in a statement accompanying the findings.

The COVID-19 situation in Brazil has been the most serious in Latin America. The situation is exacerbated by Bolsonaro's denial of the pandemic threat as well as the president's participation in public rallies amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Bolsonaro was the most contradictory world leader amid the crisis caused by the coronavirus. He regularly took to the streets of the federal capital Brasília to greet supporters in breach of the guidelines of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Authorities on 17 May 2020 logged 7,938 new cases over 24 hours, according to data form Brazil's Health Ministry. They also reported 483 new deaths, bringing the total to 16,118. Brazil's number of confirmed cases surpassed Spain and Italy — making the country the world's fourth-largest outbreak. With Brazil testing far less than other countries, experts warn that the actual number of cases is likely much higher than the official tally of over 241,000 infections tallied.

Since the beginning of the pandemics, however, the Brazilian president downplayed the COVID-19 by calling it just "the little flu." As if Bolsonaro were promoting an agenda based on non-prevention, he visited churches, malls, and other places where he has posed for photos and greeted supporters.

Brazilian leaders of opposition parties came together 30 March 2020 in an unprecedented effort and launched a petition urging for the removal of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro from office, due to his poor and dangerous management of the new coronavirus crisis. "Bolsonaro is more than a political problem, he became a public health problem, he lacks magnanimity, he should resign, which would be the least expensive gesture to allow a democratic exit for the country," a part of the document they released read. “He (the president) compromises the health and the economy, commits crimes, manipulates information, lies and encourages chaos while taking advantage of the desperation of the most vulnerable population."

Bolsonaro harshly criticized his Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta who, besides admitting that COVID-19 had already killed 300 Brazilians, stressed the need to carry out generalized quarantines in the largest cities. "Mandetta would have to listen a little more to the President of the Republic," Bolsonaro said, adding that his Health Minister is a doctor who "wants to make his will count very much... he lacks a little more humility to lead Brazil at this time of crisis."

The Health Surveillance Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Wanderson de Oliveira, presented his resignation from the post 15 April 2020 due to differences with right-wing extremist Bolsonaro in the management of the health crisis. The official's resignation was not accepted by Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta, and he managed to convince him to remain in office. "He said he was leaving, I said I didn't accept. And here we are. We will get out of this together" Mandetta said at a press conference held with De Oliveira.

Brazilian Health Minister Henrique Mandetta said 16 April 2020 he had been dismissed from office by President Jair Bolsonaro. "I just heard from President Jair Bolsonaro the notice of my resignation from the Ministry of Health. I want to express thanks for the opportunity that I was given to lead our [Health Ministry.." Bolsonaro and Mandetta have had different views on combating COVID-19. While the former health minister was an advocate of social isolation, Bolsonaro insisted on only isolating citizens from the "risk group" - seniors and those with chronic diseases. Mandetta had also been against using hydroxychlorochinum to treat coronavirus.

"I am not a gravedigger," Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro told the press on 20 April 2020 when asked about the number of deaths caused by COVID-19 in the South American country. Although the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases exceeded 38,000 by late April 2020, with over 2,400 dead, and continues to rise in Brazil, the country's President Jair Bolsonaro has doubled down on protesting against the quarantine measures and clashing with state governors over the imposed lockdowns.

As soon as the first cases started to appear, Bolsonaro, through his minister, the ultra-liberal Paulo Guedes, tried to propose support measures, but only for the business community. [However, pressured by the National Congress, the president was obliged to approve an integrated package of actions to face the impacts of the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic in Brazil. The main one foresees the payment of an allowance of 600 reais ($114) to families in situations of poverty (the original proposal was one third of that amount)"

Following his usual way of thinking, Bolsonaro also criticized the restrictions imposed by governors and mayors related to the prohibition of crowds of people and access to beaches. "Forbid going to the beach, for God's sake!," complained Brazil's president, who was baptized in the Jordan River's waters by the hand of Pastor Everaldo in 2016.??????

The Federal Supreme Court (STF) on 16 April 2020 validated the autonomy of State and Municipal governments in making decisions to contain the new coronavirus pandemic. The STF's decision acknowledges that President Jair Bolsonaro has been unable to take the necessary measures to contain COVID-19 in the country, which has been hit hardest by the pandemic in Latin America.

Bolsonaro questioned the social isolation measures unilaterally applied by the governors. "There is no point in the population wanting to flee from COVID-19, if 70% of them will contract the disease anyway," the president said. Bolsonaro blamed the press for maximizing the effects of the pandemic to increase fear and bewilderment.

Sao Paulo Federal University (UNIFESP) researcher Sofia Mendonca warned 25 March 2020 that Brazilian Indigenous peoples can be decimated by the Covid-19 pandemic if there are no forceful containment actions. "There is an incredible risk that the virus will spread through communities and cause genocide," says Mendonca, who is the coordinator of Xingu, a health promotion project that UNIFESP has been carrying out in the Xingu river basin (in the states of Mato Grosso and Para) for 50 years.

Brazil's crowded favelas, home to millions of low and middle-income dwellers, have been left to solve the COVID-19 crisis on their own while the federal government has become bogged down in internal political clashes and left incapable of adequately handling the pandemic, say Brazilian observers. Meanwhile, the nation's densely-populated favelas, low and middle-income informal settlement neighbourhoods, are struggling to avoid infection and trying to make their ends meet, while being largely neglected by the Brazilian government. According to various estimates, there are from about 12 to over 13 million people living in these unregulated settlements across Brazil. In Rio de Janeiro alone some 1.5 million people, or around 23-24% of the city's population, live in favelas.

There are no health services, basic sanitation, or housing infrastructure in these crowded communities, with most of dwellers working informally and thus having no social protection, says Alan Dantas, a Brazilian journalist and editor of Dossier Sul, an online political magazine.

"According to the DataFavela Institute, the biggest problems faced by these populations are exactly the lack of water, food and access to supplies", the journalist says. "In addition to these problems, it is difficult to maintain isolation within favelas: 80% of residents need to leave their favelas to find food and hygiene items. With the lack of management by the Brazilian government, only solidarity has been the way out for the residents of these places, the hashtag #COVID19nasFavelas comes precisely to alert Brazilians about this situation".

Gustavo Guerreiro, executive editor of the journal World Tensions and a member of the Brazilian Centre for Solidarity with Peoples and the Fight for Peace (CEBRAPAZ), agrees that sanitary problems, such as lack of sewer systems, drainage, drinking water, or an adequate garbage collection system and the agglomeration, caused by the lack of urban planning, opens the door for the faster spread of the coronavirus disease within the communities. "It is common to find shacks or small houses of one or two rooms, with five or six people from the same family", he notes. "There is no way for the authorities to demand measures of social isolation in a situation of extreme precariousness like this".

By 25 April 2020 the novel coronavirus already left 3,670 deaths in Brazil and 52,995 confirmed cases. Health experts expected the number of infections in the country of 211 million people will be much higher than what has been reported because of insufficient, delayed testing. Scientists from the University of Sao Paulo, University of Brasilia and other institutions said the true number of people infected with the virus was probably as much as 587,000 to 1.1 million people.

Brazilian Health Minister Nelson Teich resigned on 15 May 2020 after just weeks on the job, adding to turmoil in President Jair Bolsonaro's handling of an accelerating coronavirus outbreak in one of the world's worst hot spots. Teich, whom Bolsonaro had criticised as being too timid in the push to reopen the economy and advocate the use the anti-malarial drug chloroquine to fight the virus, said he had decided to resign from his position. Teich struggled to reach consensus with state governments over guidelines on reopening their economies, as Bolsonaro has demanded. He expressed surprise at a recent press conference when he learned of a presidential decree allowing gyms, beauty parlours and hairdressers to open for business.

The loss of his second health minister in less than a month spurred criticism of the right-wing president from politicians and calls for his impeachment. Four Cabinet ministers who spoke after Teich's resignation defended the idea of patients being allowed to use the drug chloroquine if they want to, including Economy Minister Paulo Guedes and the military's chief of staff, Gen. Walter Braga Netto.

Brazil passed Germany and France in coronavirus cases, with more than 200,000 confirmed diagnoses by 14 May 2020, when the health ministry reported 844 new deaths, bringing the death toll to 13,933.

Brazil removed from public view months of data on its COVID-19 epidemic on 06 June 2020, as President Jair Bolsonaro defended delays and changes to official record-keeping of the world's second-largest coronavirus outbreak. Brazil's Health Ministry removed the data from a website that had documented the epidemic over time and by state and municipality. The ministry also stopped giving a total count of confirmed cases, which have shot past 672,000 – more than anywhere outside the United States – or a total death toll, which passed Italy, nearing 36,000.

Brazil topped four million Covid-19 cases on 03 September 2020 as health ministry officials said infections were beginning to slow in the world’s second worst-hit country. Since the first case came to light on February 26, the country had registered more than 4.04 million infections and over 124,600 deaths, second only to the United States. There were almost 44,000 new cases over the previous 24 hours, and 834 fatalities. The health ministry said the number of infections were slightly reducing in recent days, amid hopes that the pandemic had peaked following months when the daily average of deaths was over 1,000.

President Jair Bolsonaro faced scathing criticism over his government's plan, or lack thereof, as opponents said, to vaccinate the population against Covid-19 in Brazil, the country with the second-highest death toll worldwide. Brazil published its vaccination plan in mid-December 2020 with notable holes, including a start date and details of how to reach its target of 70 percent of the population.

It prompted a new salvo of criticism of the far-right president, who has persistently defied expert advice on containing the pandemic and recently declared he did not plan to be vaccinated. "Enough shenanigans with the vaccine!" leading newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo said in a front-page editorial. "President Jair Bolsonaro's murderous stupidity in the face of the coronavirus pandemic has surpassed all limits." Rival daily Estado de Sao Paulo condemned the government's "lethal incompetence."

A Brazilian Supreme Court justice ordered the Senate on 08 April 2021 to investigate the government's handling of the coronavirus crisis and the full court ruled that churches can be barred from reopening during the pandemic, threatening to further strain tensions between President Jair Bolsonaro and the judiciary. Bolsonaro has downplayed the threat of the coronavirus while arguing that the economic and emotional impacts of shutdowns would harm more Brazilians than the pandemic. He has at times bristled at the checks and balances from other branches of government, and has repeatedly criticized the Supreme Court for upholding the power of governors and mayors to establish restrictions on economic and personal activity during the pandemic.

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Page last modified: 24-06-2021 17:59:15 ZULU