SAO PAULO – In the past two days, Brazil has recorded more than 800 new deaths and over 16,000 new cases from the novel coronavirus, making it the fourth country with the most cases in the world.
The country surpasses the United Kingdom–2754,382 in all–against 248,818 of the U.K. The total number of deaths in Brazil is 18,130.
The three countries ahead of Brazil in the number of cases are the USA (over 1.5 million), Russia (308,705), and Spain (279,524), according to the government statistics. Over the weekend, Brazil overtook Italy (227,364).
The previous week, it crossed the symbolic barrier of 10,000 dead – a jump of more than 50% in deaths in seven days.
The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, is affecting 210 countries and territories around the world and 2 international conveyance. More than 325,000 people have died and over 5 million people infected by the disease as it wreaks havoc across the world. At least 1.98 million people have also recovered from the mysterious illness.
The top five countries with the most deaths are the USA (93,000), the United Kingdom (35,704), Italy (32,330), France (28,022), and Spain (27,888). Brazil comes next. However, Russia, the second country with the most cases, lists less than 3,000 deaths, a number that many, internally and externally distrust.
The actual numbers are expected to be even higher due to the lack of mass testing and underreporting.
Meanwhile, the healthcare system of Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, is in danger of collapsing from the weight of mounting COVID-19 cases, its mayor warned last weekend.
“Hospital intensive care units have been overrun with patients,” Bruno Covas told a press conference. “We are nearing the most difficult time. Our intensive care beds are at 90 percent capacity,” and the regular hospital beds are at 76 percent capacity, said Covas on Sunday.
With the healthcare infrastructure already stretched to the limit, the infection rate continued to run high and new cases continue to rise, he said.
Nationwide testing in Brazil has moved slower than in Europe, meaning the virus could be more widespread than what figures indicate. Till Wednesday, over 735,000 novel coronavirus tests have been processed.
The country of 210 million people is torn by a political battle over how to respond to the virus. Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro who once compared the virus to a “little flu,” condemns the “hysteria” surrounding it and is urging the country to get back to work to stop an economic crash.
State and local authorities, however, are largely calling on citizens to stay home and practice social distancing — backed by the Supreme Court, which gave them the final say in the matter.
Bolsonaro is now seeking his third health minister since the pandemic began.
He fired the first after publicly battling over stay-at-home measures, and the second resigned last week after less than a month on the job, reportedly over the president’s insistence on widespread use of the controversial and unproven malaria drug chloroquine to treat the disease.
Hospitals in several areas are meanwhile operating close to full capacity, and the hardest-hit cities have begun burying victims in mass graves, even as the number of infections continues to soar.–With input from Agencies