The death milestone comes less than five months after Brazil recorded its first death linked to Covid-19.
The ministry said 100,477 people lost their lives and 3,012,412 were infected. In the past 24 hours, 905 people have died from Covid-19.
The day was marked by demonstrations of solidarity with the families of the victims and critics of the federal government. Many Twitter users have tagged their posts with the hashtag # 100thousanddeaths. In Rio de Janeiro, the NGO Rio de la Paix placed a hundred crosses in the sand and displayed a poster asking: “Why are we the second in number of dead? “
As cases began to grow in March and state governors began to act to contain the spread, Bolsonaro argued that the economy could not be sacrificed for the sake of public health.
He criticized the unpopular quarantine and shelter-in-place measures, hugging supporters at rallies without face masks, while encouraging people to continue working and boosting the unproven drug chloroquine as a cure.
Bolsonaro clashed with his health ministers, losing two in the space of a month, and choosing a military general with no medical or public health background to take on the role.
Bolsonaro tested positive for the virus in July, as cases skyrocketed in the country and the healthcare system in several states was pushed to the limit.
On Thursday, Bolsonaro said on Facebook Live: “The number [of Covid-19 deaths] reached 100,000. We will continue with life and look for a way out of this problem, ”said
However, continuing to live has not been easy for Daniel Gustavo Veloso, a 34-year-old businessman who lost his father to Covid-19.
“You don’t know how painful it is to get to the hospital and see your dad in a black garbage bag, with just his face out,” Veloso told CNN.
Veloso’s father, Victor Manuel Veloso Mendez, lived in Caxias do Sul, a town in the countryside of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, one of the current epicenters of the coronavirus in Brazil. Despite being elderly and suffering from high blood pressure and diabetes, Victor did not want to use a mask.
According to Veloso, Victor was a strong supporter of Bolsonaro. ‘He used to say things like’ the virus won’t attack me, it doesn’t exist, it’s something that was created by the media, by the communists, God will help me, it is just a little flu, ”said Veloso.
When her father realized the severity of the illness, it was too late. “When he got to the medical unit, his oxygenation was already very low,” Veloso said. “He called my mother crying desperately and begging ‘don’t leave me alone, don’t let me die’. It was the last contact we had with him. ”
Victor was intubated and died nine days later, on June 19, at the age of 64.
The psychology of the pandemic is important in Brazil. According to Gisele Gus Manfro, psychiatrist and professor of psychiatry in Porto Alegre, the way in which the deaths are presented – like faceless figures – and the feeling of helplessness in the face of the virus generate a “trivialization of barbarism” in the country.
“The unknown is very scary, and at the first moment people react to it with a lot of symptoms like stress, anxiety and depression. But after a while there seems to be a kind of denial… maybe to defend against a feeling of helplessness, ”she says.
Disinformation has also played a role.
Alexandre Cunha, an infectious disease specialist at Brasilia University Hospital in the country’s capital, said: “The misinformation has been very bad for us doctors. Every day we have to deal with a parent who questions the treatment or a patient who asks for drugs that have been scientifically proven to be hydroxychloroquine. ”
« [It] it feels like people have gotten used to the idea that they can’t escape Covid-19. The country is still facing a high number of deaths and people seem numb about it, ”Cunha said.
Brazilians have used the Internet to create a network of affection and support. The host group of the Covid-19 support network, for example, has 8,000 psychologists and psychiatrists who provide free virtual care in the event of loss and absence.
And the Inumeráveis website, created to honor victims of Covid-19 with individual tributes, is based on the premise that “there are those who don’t like to be numbered; people deserve to exist in prose ”. All articles are prepared by volunteer journalists who use a questionnaire answered by friends and family at the time of registration.
Gabriela Veiga, who works as a social media specialist for Inumeráveis, notes that the lack of a proper farewell ritual, imposed by the pandemic, makes it even more important to talk about those who have lost their lives.
“Talking about loved ones in a festive way, remembering fun times with that person, for example, helps improve the grieving process,” she told CNN.
Rodrigo Pedroso a rapport from Sao Paulo, Fernanda Wenzel from Porto Alegre et Thaize Oliveira from Rio de Janeiro. Radina Gigova contributed to ce rapport.