Brazil in ‘biological Fukushima’ as 4,000 Covid deaths seen in one day

Brazil saw over 4,000 deaths from Covid-19 on Tuesday alone, as the epidemic turns into what one expert calls a “biological Fukushima”.

Brazil’s exponential surge is set to surpass the numbers seen within the United States in January, when almost 80,000 people died from the disease.

“It’s a nuclear reactor that has set off a chain reaction and is out of control. It’s a biological Fukushima,” said Miguel Nicolelis, a Brazilian doctor and professor at Duke University, who is closely tracking the virus

The South American country is the third to claim the gruesome title of seeing over 4000 covid deaths in one day, with only the USA and Peru seeing the same numbers.

The virus is now overwhelming Brazillian hospitals, with 19,301 new cases of covid seen in the last week alone.

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This surge in cases – which is not just seen in Brazil, but across the whole of South America – is being attributed to the ‘Brazil-variant’ of Covid-19, which is thought to be twice as transmissible than the variant that originally started the pandemic.

Since the start of the pandemic, the country has seen 13.1 million cases of the disease, and 337k deaths. It is the country with the second-highest number of confirmed cases after the United States.

90% of Intensive care beds in most Brazillian states are being used by Covid-19 patients, with hundreds dying as they wait for care and basic supplies such as oxygen and sedatives are running out in several states.

Whilst some countries are able to see the end of covid with the rapid dissemination of covid-19 vaccines, just less than 3% of Brazil‘s 210 million people have received both doses of coronavirus vaccines

However, despite this worsening crisis, many governors, mayors and judges are reopening parts of the economy.

Miguel Lago, executive director of Brazil’s Institute for Health Policy Studies, which advises public health officials, said reopening is a mistake that he fears will bring even higher death numbers, though he thinks it unlikely to be reversed.

“The fact is the anti-lockdown narrative of President Jair Bolsonaro has won,” Lago told The Associated Press. “Mayors and governors are politically prohibited from beefing up social distancing policies because they know supporters of the president, including business leaders, will sabotage it.”

On Tuesday – the day when 4195 deaths were recorded – one Rio de Janeiro judge allowed schools to reopen as Mayor Eduardo Paes wanted. Hours later, the mayors of Campinas and Sorocaba, two of the most populous cities in Sao Paulo state, agreed to reopen business with a drive-thru purchase system after a 10-day halt.

Professional soccer executives in Sao Paulo said they expect to play games this week after a 15-day interruption, promising local prosecutors they will follow stricter health protocols.

“What we found is that the victims of COVID, whether it was in the U.K., in France, in the U.S., in India, in the Middle East, inBrazil, those victims were primarily among the most disenfranchised and vulnerable groups,” she said. “As a global community, as a national community, we failed the test that COVID-19 represented.”

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