Brazil on Saturday (Jun 19) became the second country after the United States to surpass 500,000 Covid-19 deaths as the South American giant grapples with a third wave of the pandemic.
“500,000 lives lost due to the pandemic that affects our Brazil and the world,” Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga tweeted.
The Health Ministry reported 500,800 deaths, including 2,301 in the last 24 hours, a toll that many experts say underestimate the real toll from the health crisis.
This week the average number of daily deaths surpassed 2,000 for the first time since May 10.
“The third wave is arriving, there’s already in a change in the case and death curves,” Ethel Maciel, an epidemiologist from Espirito Santo University, told AFP news agency.
“Our vaccination (program), which could make a difference, is slow and there are no signs of restrictive measures, quite the contrary.”
In large cities, life seems almost back to normal with restaurants, bars and shops open and many people in the streets not wearing face masks.
And yet the situation is critical in 19 of Brazil’s 27 states with more than 80 percent occupancy of intensive care beds — in nine of those states it’s over 90 percent.