RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazil’s brutal spike in COVID-19 deaths will soon surpass the worst wave of a record January wave in the United States, scientists estimate, with deaths rising for the first time above 4,000 in a day on Tuesday as the outbreak flooded hospitals.
The overall death toll in Brazil only follows the US outbreak, with nearly 337,000 killed, according to Health Ministry data, compared with more than 555,000 killed in the United States.
But with Brazil’s health care system at its breaking point, the country could exceed total US deaths, despite having a population of two-thirds that of the United States, two experts told Reuters.
“It was a nuclear reactor that set off a chain reaction and got out of control. It’s a biological Fukushima, “said Miguel Nicolelis, a Brazilian doctor and professor at Duke University, who is tracking the virus closely.
On Tuesday, the Health Ministry reported another 4,195 COVID-19 deaths in the past 24 hours, well above the country’s record one day earlier. Brazil has set a record daily death toll every week since late February, as a more contagious local variant and less social distancing efforts sparked an uncontrolled outbreak.
With mass vaccinations reducing the US outbreak, Brazil has become the epicenter of the pandemic, accounting for about one in four deaths per day globally, according to a Reuters analysis.
President Jair Bolsonaro has rejected wearing masks and lockups that public health experts say are the best way to reduce transmission of the virus.
The country struggled last year as the world raced for a vaccine, slowing the rollout of a national immunization program.
Despite the recent spike, Brazilian officials are adamant that the country can return to business as usual soon.
“We think maybe two, three months from now Brazil will be back in business,” Economy Minister Paulo Guedes said at an online event on Tuesday. “Of course, maybe economic activity will fall but it will be much, much less than the decline we suffered last year … and much, much shorter.”
Bolsonaro has responded to mounting political pressure with a dramatic overhaul of half a dozen ministries, placing loyalists in a key role ahead of what may be next year’s tough re-election campaign against his political enemies.
While the president has changed his tone on immunization, touting a vaccine he recently insulted, the former right-wing army captain continues to fight in court against state and city restrictions on economic activity.
With weak measures failing to combat contagion, Brazil’s COVID-19 cases and deaths are accumulating faster than ever.
Nicolelis and Christovam Barcellos, a researcher at the Brazilian medical institute Fiocruz, separately estimated that Brazil could surpass the United States in terms of overall mortality and its record average mortality per day.
As soon as next week, Brazil may break the US seven-day median record for COVID-19 deaths, according to a model by the influential Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. The daily mortality rate in the US peaked at 3,285 in January.
The current IHME estimate does not go beyond July 1, when it projects Brazil could reach 563,000 deaths, compared to the 609,000 total US deaths estimated at the time.
Brazil is now widely seen as the epicenter of the pandemic, with the highest number of daily deaths of any country.
“We saw people dying from lack of oxygen, people were really suffocating. The situation is completely out of control, ”said journalist Patricia Campos Mello.
Campos Mello’s comments came after Brazil on Tuesday recorded a record daily Covid death toll, recording more than 3,700 deaths, according to data from Brazil’s health ministry.
Patricia Campos Mello, a reporter for Folha de Sao Paulo, has sued President Jair Bolsonaro after he made statements questioning his credibility.
The Covid-19 death toll jumped out of control in Brazil in March, more than double the country’s previous monthly record.
Brazil reported 66,573 people had died from Covid-19 in March – more than twice as many deaths as the month of the country’s second deadliest pandemic, July 2020.
The virus has killed more than 2.8 million people since emerging in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019. And although the world is looking for a vaccine to end the upheaval that Covid-19 has brought, its rollout has begun swiftly in many countries. .
That includes Brazil, where health experts say the explosion of cases has been driven in part by a local variant of the virus known as P1, which can re-infect people who have the original strain and are believed to be more contagious.
“Never in Brazilian history have we seen a single incident kill so many people” in one month, said Doctor Miguel Nicolelis, a former pandemic response coordinator for Brazil’s impoverished northeast.
With winter approaching in the southern hemisphere and the virus spreading rapidly, Brazil is facing “the perfect storm,” he said.
Amid criticism of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for the continuous spike in COVID-19 cases, a Sao Paulo court has ordered to support a journalist who sued him. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has been directed to pay compensation to a journalist for making statements that demean him. The Sao Paulo court in its order said Bolsonaro had to pay 20,000 reais (about US $ 3,500) to Patricia Campos Mello, a reporter for the daily Folha De S. Paulo.
In February 2020, President Bolsonaro claimed that Campos Mello had offered sex to a source in exchange for negative information about him. On March 16, a judge ruled that right-wing leaders had “damaged the honor of the reporter, caused moral damage.”
Bolsonaro can appeal the decision.
It’s worth noting that Campos Mello wrote several investigative stories about an organization that slandered Bolsonaro’s opponents on WhatsApp during his 2018 presidential campaign.
In January 2021, Eduardo Bolsonaro, a Brazilian congressman and son of President Jair Bolsonaro, was ordered to pay 30,000 reais (US $ 5,600) as compensation for moral damage to Campos Mello. Eduardo Bolsonaro made a series of serious accusations against journalist Patrícia Campos Mello on Terça Livre’s YouTube channel. He claimed that Campos Mello had tried to use sex to get negative information about his father and tried to interfere with the 2018 presidential election. In response, Campos Mello sued the younger Bolsonaro for moral damage in a civil court and won.
‘War is ongoing against the President’
President Bolsonaro is also facing the heat after the COVID-19 cases in Brazil don’t appear to be abating. In Brazil, more than 450,000 people have died. The intensive care unit is 95% full. Fifteen other state capitals are also on the brink of collapse, with ICU occupancy rates above 90%.
Recently, a Brazilian daily reported that hundreds of Brazilian business leaders and economists had criticized the country’s top leadership for ignoring science, encouraging crowds and providing unproven treatment. In the report, business leaders also asked for a new policy approach as they entered the critical phase of the coronavirus pandemic.
In interactions with the media, President Bolsonaro has said that here is a war against him in the name of COVID. “It seems that only died because of Covid. The hospital is 90% occupied. But we need to find out how much from Covid and how much from other diseases, “he said.
The staggering growth of COVID-19 infections and deaths over the past month has turned Brazil into the global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. One day next week, South America’s largest country is expected to hit a bleak milestone with 300,000 deaths from the disease, 100,000 of which occurred in the first months of 2021.
Brazil’s average daily number of infections jumped from around 45,000 on February 18 to nearly 72,000 on March 18. As of Friday, 90,570 new cases were recorded. In the past four weeks, the number of Brazilians who are losing their lives every day to COVID-19 has more than doubled, and hit a record high on Tuesday with 2,841 new deaths.
While the Brazilian working masses wonder when this nightmare will end, the latest developments in the pandemic suggest that the disaster in the country is far from reaching its peak.
This weekThe Oswaldo Cruz Foundation’s (Fiocruz) public health research institute warned that “the greatest health and hospital collapse in Brazilian history” was taking place. The latest data from Wednesday shows that 26 of the country’s 27 states have reached 80 percent of the ICU COVID bed capacity. In 19 capitals, the number is more than 90 percent.
Unable to receive adequate care, critically ill patients are dying to wait in line that includes thousands across the country. In Santa Catarina, a state with 97 percent of ICU bed residents and with more than 450 people on the waiting list, 130 patients have died without receiving intensive care. State hospitals have adopted a “Protocol for the allocation of scarce resources during the COVID-19 pandemic” with criteria for selecting who will be provided with care and a chance to survive, and who will be left to die.
The large number of health care facilities increases the danger of a widespread shortage of basic medical supplies. Stocks of the drugs needed for intubation, including anesthesia and muscle relaxants, are readily available in hospitals across the country. Reports on the daily Newspaper demonstrated that 22 ICU drugs had reached their limit.
Brazil’s Ministry of Health recognizes that there are “dangerous expectations of deficiency [of oxygen] in a small hospital in a few days, ”as stated by General Ridauto Lúcio Fernandes, an adviser to his Logistics Department during a public hearing in the Senate on Thursday. He added, “This is happening all over Brazil.”
Brazil is moving rapidly towards the next stage of the COVID-19 disaster, which includes the collapse of a widespread mortuary system. Brazilian doctor and neurologist Miguel Nicolelis – who warned months ago that if the national lockdown was not implemented immediately, “We will not be able to bury the dead” – this week showed indications that this dire prophecy has come true.
On Wednesday, residents of Vitória de Santo Antão, a town in the inland state of Pernambuco, reported, with photographic evidence, that piles of rotting corpses had been dumped in the open air at a local cemetery. Nicolelis commented on Twitter, “Funeral collapses usually start like this. In small towns. “In an interview with UOL, the scientist described such a situation as” a greater risk, because we start talking about secondary bacterial infections, contamination of soil, surface water, food “.
One of the main factors cited by researchers for the rampant cases in Brazil is the spread of the most contagious variant of the coronavirus that originated in Manaus. Studies show that the P.1 variant can cause reinfection and resistance to the vaccine, threatening a national vaccination campaign, which reaches only 5 percent of the population with the first dose.
The generation of the Manaus variant, known as P.1, now spreading across the planet endangering the world’s population, is the direct product of the experimentation of the ruling class with its “herd immunity” policy.
After the horrific first wave of the pandemic, which triggered a collapse of health care and morgues in Manaus, the governor of the far-right, Wilson Lima of the Christian Social Party (PSC), risked the lives of state residents by promoting the unrestricted reopening of economic activity, including schools. This experiment has been repeated across the country, where it has been correctly defined as an open laboratory for the manufacture of a more virulent variant of the coronavirus.
Even in the face of this catastrophic situation, Brazilian fascistic President Jair Bolsonaro continues to pursue a policy of “herd immunity” and normalization of mass mortality. In a statement to the right-wing press, he implied that reports of the maximum capacity of the ICU COVID beds being reached across the country were false. He questioned: “How much came from COVID and how much came from other diseases?”
However, the alternative to Bolsonaro’s overt sociopathic policies presented by his so-called opponents in Brazil’s political formation is, at best, a policy of criminal negligence.
A year ago, when less than 50 people died from COVID-19 in Brazil, the governor of São Paulo, João Doria of the Brazilian Social Democratic Party, made a snide criticism of Bolsonaro’s indifference: “This is not a fake death, sir. President, and it’s not a ‘light flu’ [as Bolsonaro described COVID-19]. “
Since then, more than 66,000 deaths have occurred in the state of São Paulo, 659 of them on Thursday alone. The so-called São Paulo Doria Plan to combat the pandemic, based on an arbitrary system of color-coded restrictions, without any scientific basis, has proven to be a failure. Doria is the main character of a campaign against the insecure reopening of the country’s largest school system, which has killed dozens of educators and caused hundreds of outbreaks in schools since February.
A year ago, when Doria positioned himself as a science champion, the governor of the northeastern state ruled by the Workers’ Party (PT) and its allies in the Brazilian Maoist Communist Party (PCdoB) and the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), created the scientific committee of the Northeast Consortium, invited scientist Miguel Nicolelis to lead it.
Not only has Nicolelis stepped down from his presidency from the committee, exposing the gulf between government politics and science, but this week he publicly criticized the stance of the Governors Forum, led by PT Wellington Dias, in his interview with UOL. He stated: “I am waiting. For the past two weeks I have heard the governors say that they will organize themselves on the national committee [to implement a coordinated lockdown] which I submitted since December. The scientific committee of the Northeast supported it. The ‘small talk’ continued. “
Even if these forces do not offer consistent policies to tackle a catastrophic pandemic, Bolsonaro has made it clear that no action to stop the virus from circulating will be tolerated. On Thursday, the president filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Court (STF) to overturn the governor’s decision imposing a “curfew” in the states of Bahia, the Federal District and Rio Grande do Sul, declaring the move unconstitutional.
Defending his court action, Bolsonaro underlined the threat of his fascist dictator, which is in line with his genocidal policies in the face of the pandemic. If the court did not support him, he stated that the government would take care of the matter itself. “Are residents bracing for violent social action by the federal government on this? What’s harsh? This is to give freedom to the people. This is to give people the right to work. No, this doesn’t mean dictatorship. “Yes, that means exactly that.
The corona virus knows no national borders. An uncontrolled pandemic in Brazil means an uncontrolled pandemic worldwide. The working class must respond to these catastrophic conditions and the threats posed by the ruling class in every country through independent political action, stop every non-essential economic activity, guarantee full income for each working family and fight for a socialist internationalist program against the capitalist death policy. and dictatorships.