RIO DE JANEIRO | Brazil recorded more than 700 deaths from the coronavirus in one day for the first time since mid-November, and crossed the 175,000 death mark on Thursday, according to official data which confirms an acceleration of the pandemic in the country.
• Read also: All developments in the COVID-19 pandemic
The Ministry of Health has counted 755 deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the toll to 175,270 deaths. Brazil with 212 million inhabitants is the country in the world most bereaved by the pandemic, behind the United States (274,577).
Health authorities also confirmed 50,434 new cases in one day, bringing the number of people infected in the country since the appearance of the virus to 6.5 million.
The increase comes after several Brazilian states relaxed social distancing measures.
The far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, questioned from the start of the pandemic this type of preventive measures, because they would have an impact on the economy. “We are all going to die one day, everyone is going to die here. It’s no use running away from that, running away from reality. We must stop being a country of queers. We have to face up to it, to fight, ”Bolsonaro said on 10 November.
But for infectious disease specialist Julio Croda, of the University of Mato Grosso do Sul, “if preventive measures are not taken for lack of leadership, we will witness a tragedy”.
“The increase (in cases and deaths) is likely to continue and intensify over the Christmas and New Years holidays. We will have a complicated December, but January will be clearly worse,” Croda told AFP.
A scientific committee recommended this week that Rio de Janeiro close all its schools and ban staying on beaches, among other measures.
Brazil’s health regulatory agency (Anvisa) on Wednesday set emergency approval criteria for one of four vaccines in the final phase of clinical trials in the country.
“Many believe that the vaccine will be available in Brazil in January, but this is not the reality, it will not be until March,” said Croda.