Brazil’s coronavirus death toll topped 100,000 on Saturday evening, marking a grim milestone as the outbreak shows no signs of slowing down five months after the country’s first reported case.
With an average of more than 1,000 daily deaths since the end of May, the nation of 210 million people has the second-highest death toll in the world behind the United States. Brazil also has the second-highest number of infections after the United States, with 3,012,412 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the Ministry of Health.
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However, as in many countries, experts believe that the double figures can be much higher due to insufficient testing.
” It’s very sad. These 100,000 represent various families, friends, parents, children, ”said Marcio do Nascimento Silva, a 56-year-old taxi driver who lost his children in the pandemic.
“We reach this mark [100,000] and a lot of people seem to not see it, both in government and in our people, ”Silva said. “It’s not just numbers, it’s people. Death has become normal.
Even as the number of deaths and infections continues to rise, President Jair Bolsonaro – who has said he caught the virus and has since recovered – has pushed for the country’s economy to reopen .
Many of Brazil’s 27 states have started to reopen stores and restaurants, and people have returned to beaches in places like Rio de Janeiro.
Experts complained about a lack of national coordination under Bolsonaro and disorganized responses from city and state governments, with some reopening earlier than health experts recommended.
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“We should live in despair because it is a tragedy like a world war. But Brazil is under collective anesthesia, ”Dr. José Davi Urbaez, a senior member of the Infectious Diseases Society, told Reuters.
“The government’s message today is, ‘Get your coronavirus, and if it’s severe, there is intensive care.’ This sums up our policy today, ”Urbaez said.
Bolsonaro, who called COVID-19 a “little flu,” saw two health ministers, both doctors, resign over disputes with the president over social distancing and the use of the drug hydroxychloroquine antimalarial, which most studies have found to be ineffective in treating COVID-19.
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Bolsonaro has been promoting the drug, saying it has helped him recover from his own infection.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.