Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 4 (efe-epa).- Brazil displaced Italy on Thursday as the third country with the most deaths from COVID-19 and as the second-highest number of infections 100 days after it registered its first case.
According to a bulletin published on Thursday by Brazil’s health ministry, the number of deaths reached a record high for the third consecutive day with 1,473, after 1,262 on Tuesday and 1,349 on Wednesday.
The record of more than 1,000 deaths per day in recent days and a total of 34,021, made Brazil the third country with the most deaths in the world, after the United States (107,979) and the United Kingdom (39,987), and now ahead of Italy (33,689), according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
According to the bulletin, 30,925 new cases were recorded in the last 24 hours, up from 28,633 new infections on Wednesday, bringing the cumulative number of cases to 614,941.
With over 600,000 infections since the country reported its first case of the new coronavirus on Feb. 26, Brazil currently holds the second highest rank in the world after the United States (1,867,620), well ahead of Russia (440,538), and is the epicenter of the pandemic in Latin America.
According to the ministry’s report, 325,957 cases, or 53 percent of the total number of infected, are still under medical care, while 254,963 (41.5 percent) have recovered and been discharged.
The COVID-19 outbreak has now extended across 72 percent of Brazilian cities and led to deaths in 30 percent of them. A month ago only 40 percent of the provinces had cases and only 13.4 percent reported deaths.
According to a University of São Paulo study, Brazil is the only country among the 10 most affected in the world that maintained growth in the number of cases and deaths after 50 days of epidemic, and now after 100 days, it has the steepest upward curve of infections in the world.
According to the study, countries such as China, France, Italy and Spain and even the US, which have been pandemic epicenters, kept a stable infection curve after the first 50 days.
Professor Domingo Alves, USP researcher and coordinator of the study, said that Brazilian authorities did not correctly follow the recommendations of health experts and scientists; they imposed partial restrictions on mobility in place of a total lockdown and now they are relaxing measures at the least opportune moment.
“Today’s serious situation is in line with bad management of the epidemic. We maintained the measures of social distancing for only two and a half months, during which only 50 percent of mobility was restricted, a very low figure. This is the reason for the high number of infections and deaths,” Alves said.
Brazil started this week a gradual process of de-escalation of the economic paralysis measures and began to relax the guidelines of social distancing.
The loosening has been criticized by specialists and scientists, who consider that the country is still far from the peak of the contagion curve, which is expected in July, and that in some regions hospital infrastructure may collapse.
The de-escalation was driven by President Jair Bolsonaro, one of leaders most skeptical about the seriousness of the pandemic, who has described COVID-19 as a “little cold” and has defended the end of the distancing measures imposed by the regional governments and the normalization of all activities since the outbreak of the pandemic.
For the far-right leader, who lost his last two health ministers over differences on COVID-19 strategies, more than half of the population will contract the infection regardless of the distancing measures adopted so the priority should be on avoiding the economic crisis. EFE-EPA