Saturday, October 16, 2021

Number COVID-19 related death crosses Five Lakh mark in Brazil

The number of deaths related to COVID-19 has passed 500,000 (Five Lakhs) in Brazil, the second-highest in the world.

Experts say the outbreak could worsen amid slow vaccination and the start of winter.

They said, the virus continues to spread as President Jair Bolsonaro refuses to back measures like social distancing.

The health institute Fiocruz says the situation is critical. Only 15 per cent of adults are fully vaccinated.

Congress is investigating the government’s handling of the pandemic.

President Bolsonaro has been heavily criticised for not implementing a co-ordinated national response and for his scepticism toward vaccines, lockdowns and mask-wearing requirements, which he has sought to loosen.

The president has said the impact of lockdowns on the economy would be worse than the virus, and insists he has done all he can to buy vaccines from several countries.

But the opposition accuses him of delaying vaccine orders for political reasons, as he has consistently played down the severity of the pandemic.

The outbreak in Brazil has been fuelled by more transmissible variants of the virus, including the one first identified in the Amazon region and now known as Gamma.

An average of 70,000 cases has been confirmed daily in the last week. The rate of occupancy of intensive care unit beds remains at or above 80 per cent in most states, and experts warn the start of winter in the southern hemisphere, next week, could result in more infections.

Only the US has reported more deaths related to Covid-19. The seven-day daily average of deaths in Brazil has been above 1,500 since March.

Gonzalo Vecina, the former head of the health regulator Anvisa, said the slow progress of the vaccine programme would continue to cost lives.

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