2,000 Covid-19 deaths a day no longer news in Brazil

By Carlos Meneses Sanchez

Sao Paulo, Jun 30 (EFE).- Brazilians have become accustomed to seeing 2,000 of their fellow citizens die every day from Covid-19 and will not submit to additional lockdowns or restriction aimed at containing the pandemic, one of the country’s top public health officials said Wednesday.

“We are experiencing a moment of exhaustion of society, which naturalizes the deaths, even though they are at an elevated level,” Carlos Lula, chair of the council of the health secretaries of Brazil’s 27 states, told Efe.

“It’s something that’s no longer in the headlines, no longer news,” he said.

Throughout the 16 months of the pandemic, it has been left to state and local officials to take steps to stop coronavirus in the face of the denialism of right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro.

Pandemic fatigue and the “awful example” set by Bolsonaro, who has continued to dismiss the virus even after his own bout with Covid-19, are combining to undermine adherence to guidelines, Lula said.

“It’s not possible to put a police officer alongside every person,” the Maranhao state health secretary said.

Brazil has lost more than 515,000 lives to Covid-19, second only to the United States with 604,000, and fatalities have been running at upwards of 2,000 a day for the last three months.

“I believe that we will reach 700,000-800,000 deaths by the end of the year,” Lula said a week after Brazil set a new one-day record with 115,228 new cases.

The country is already “in the third wave,” he said, noting that only 12 percent of Brazilians are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

While Brazil’s second wave was driven by the P.1 variant, first detected in the Amazonian city of Manaus, Lula fears that the Delta variant, which was identified in India, will spur “an explosion of cases.”

The recent onset of winter in the Southern Hemisphere is likely to increase the pressure on the public health system.

Even so, Lula said he is hopeful that an expected acceleration of the immunization process in July and August will avert yet another collapse of hospitals.

“I believe that starting in July and August we will vaccinate more. Brazil achieved vaccinating 2 million people in one day and it has the capacity for more,” he said.

The country could easily administer as many as 4 million doses per day given sufficient supply of vaccine, he said.

“Doses are lacking, not the structure to vaccinate,” Lula said. EFE


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