Sao Paulo, Aug 20 (efe-epa).- Another 1,204 Brazilians lost their lives to coronavirus in the last 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 112,304, the health ministry said Thursday.
Nearly 3,200 additional fatalities have been classified as possibly due to Covid-19 pending a final determination by pathologists.
The number of cases increased by 45,323 to 3.5 million, according to the latest bulletin from the ministry, though epidemiologists suggest the true figure may be as much as 10 times that, given pervasive under-reporting.
Brazil’s mortality rate from the virus is more than 50 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, with an average of 1,000 Covid-19 fatalities a day since the end of May.
With a population of roughly 210 million, the South American giant is second only to the United States in both infections and fatalities.
Sao Paulo, Brazil’s most populous state, accounts for 730,828 cases and 27,905 deaths. While Bahia, in the northeast, is second in infections with 228,596, Rio de Janeiro state is next on the list in fatalities, with more than 15,000.
The figures point to a relative stabilization as the contagion rate has dipped below 1. But there are concerns about a spike in the temperate regions of the south and center-west amid the continuing austral winter.
More than 2.65 million, or 75.8 percent of Brazilians who tested positive for Covid-19 have recovered, the health ministry said, and more than 736,000 infected people remain under medical surveillance.
Four different potential coronavirus vaccines are currently undergoing Phase 3 clinical trials in Brazil, which is positioning itself to become the supplier for the region when and if an effective drug emerges.
The health ministry is led by Eduardo Pazuello, an army general with no prior experience in the field who took charge in May after two health ministers – physicians Luiz Henrique Mandetta and Nelson Teich – resigned within the space of a month due to clashes with President Jair Bolsonaro over the handling of the crisis.
The rightist head of state is the world’s leading pandemic denialist, dismissing Covid-19 as a “measly flu” and railing at mayors and state governors for imposing shutdowns to slow the spread of the virus.
Bolsonaro, a professed admirer of Brazil’s 1964-1985 military regime, has remained complaisant about coronavirus even after his own bout with the illness and continues to downplay the significance of Covid-19 deaths. EFE cms/dr