Brazil sees highest rise in coronavirus deaths, as Bolsonaro fights state governors to reopen gyms, beauty parlors

by Editorial Team

Brazil has recorded its highest number of coronavirus deaths in 24 hours, and it has passed Germany in total number of infections, health officials said.

On Tuesday, officials number released by the country’s health ministry reported 881 fatalities from COVID-19 in 24 hours.

According to the Brazilian news site G-1, as of Wednesday morning, the total number of coronavirus-related deaths in the country has spiked to 12,599 — the sixth hardest-hit country in the world.

Overall, Brazil has 180,049 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus — the seventh highest in the world — but due to a lack of proper testing, experts fear the actual number can be much higher.

“Brazil is only testing people who end up in the hospital,” Domingo Alves from the University of São Paulo Medical School told the Agence France-Presse.

“It’s hard to know what’s really happening based on the available data,” he said. “We don’t have a real policy to manage the outbreak.”

“Brazil is probably the next epicenter of the pandemic in the world,” Luciano Cesar Azevedo, a doctor who treats COVID-19 patients São Paulo, told The Atlantic.

Azevedo thinks Brazil can get “close to 100,000 deaths.”

However, although health experts worry about the exponential rise in positive cases — which have already begun to overwhelm hospitals in some states — the country’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, continues to downplay the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As he’s been doing since the early days of the crisis, the far-right leader of Latin America’s largest economy continues to argue that the slowdown of the economy might be worse than the devastation caused by the new coronavirus.

On Tuesday, despite the spike in deaths and new cases, Bolsonaro vowed to fight state governors who oppose his orders to reopen gyms and beauty parlors, which he deems “essential” services.

“Governors who do not agree with the decree can file lawsuits in court,” he shared on social media. “Our objective is to attend to millions of professionals, most of them with modest income, who want to get back to work and bring health and income to the population.”

At least 10 governors have said they will not comply, according to Reuters.

“Bolsonaro is walking toward the precipice and wants to take all of us with him,” the governor of Rio de Janeiro, Wilson Witzel, wrote on Twitter.


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