According to Brazilian vital statistics data, 615,329 deaths were reported in the country between January 1 and April 30. Of these, 208,370 were linked to Covid-19, according to the Brazilian Ministry of Health – 33.9% of the country’s total.
The coronavirus has risen with vengeance against the South American giant in recent months – fueled in part by disregard for social distancing precautions and the emergence of new extra-contagious variants – and has claimed more lives in the past four months than in all in 2020. More than 78,000 people in Brazil have been killed by the virus last month alone.
Meanwhile, despite Brazil’s strong immunization program, its deployment of Covid-19 vaccines has been slow, hampered by supply shortages and delays in the early days of reaching deals with global pharmaceutical companies. So far, less than 10% of the population has been vaccinated.
While the government of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is loath to impose restrictions on travel or economic activity, local lockdown measures imposed by state governors and city mayors in March and April are aimed at slowing the recent resurgence of the pandemic. The daily death rate has fallen from its peak of over 4,000 in April to around 2,100.
Since the start of the pandemic, Brazil has racked up one of the highest absolute death rates from Covid-19 in the world, just behind the United States, where Covid-19 was the third leading cause of death last year. Compared to its population of around 211 million, the scale of Covid-19 deaths in Brazil is even more striking: Brazil has suffered 193 Covid-19 deaths per 100,000 people since the start of the pandemic – higher than the 176 deaths in the United States per 100,000 people. and 16 deaths per 100,000 population in India, where the virus is currently raging uncontrollably.
When Brazil passed 400,000 Covid-19 deaths on April 29, Bolsonaro briefly commented on the situation.
“We are sorry for the dead. (The pandemic) has hit a huge death toll here, hasn’t it? He said in a weekly show live on his social networks. The president has faced strong national and international criticism for his reluctant response to the pandemic, and is currently the subject of a Senate investigation.
Brazilian Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga said on Monday that he expected to sign an agreement for 100 million doses of Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine soon, and that the majority of Brazilians should be vaccinated by the end of the year. .
But for now, Brazil lags behind South American countries like Chile and Uruguay, which increasingly see their neighbor as an epidemiological threat.
CNN’s Rodrigo Pedroso reported from Sao Paulo and Caitlin Hu reported and wrote from New York. CNN’s Tatiana Arias contributed to this report.