By Nayara Batschke
Sao Paulo, Oct 8 (EFE).- Brazil became the world’s second country Friday, behind only the United States, to exceed 600,000 deaths from the novel coronavirus, a tragic mark that experts called a “true catastrophe”.
The country surpassed the number 110 days after 500,000 deaths in June, when it was just emerging from a virulent and deadly second wave of the pandemic and predicting an imminent third.
According to health authorities’ data, the coronavirus killed 615 people in the last 24 hours, a total of 600,425 deaths from the pandemic.
Since the beginning of the health emergency, on Feb. 26, 2020, the country has already accumulated 21.6 million cases, making it the third nation in the world with the most infections, behind the US and India.
However, infections and deaths have been decreasing, although figures “remain at worrying levels,” experts said.
That drop, they said, was driven above all by the advance of vaccinations, which began slowly and belatedly in mid-January but are currently at an accelerated rate.
“If it weren’t for vaccination, we would have already beaten this sad mark of 600,000 deaths a long time ago,” Paulo Lotufo, epidemiologist and professor at the Medicine Faculty at Sao Paulo University, told EFE.
According to official data, about 70 percent of the Brazilian population, about 213 million people, has already received the first shot against Covid-19, while 45.2 percent have the complete course.
The daily death average from the disease in Brazil now revolves around 500, quite far from the daily average of 3,124 deaths last April – at the peak of the second wave – but which is still considered high.
“We are still at a very bad level, there is still little to celebrate. We are not as bad as before, but we remain bad,” said Ethel Maciel, epidemiologist and researcher at the Federal University of the Holy Spirit.
The doctor added that “the ideal” scenario is for the disease to become endemic and the country to register about “500 deaths a year, and not every day, as it happens now.”
“And there is still a long way to go,” she said. EFE