Brazil exceeds 50,000 deaths from coronavirus

Infections now over a million
Aerial view showing the tombs of Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery in Manaus on June 21, 2020

AFP/MICHAEL DANTAS  -   Aerial view showing the tombs of Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery in Manaus on June 21, 2020

Brazil surpassed the 50,000-coronavirus death mark on Sunday after registering 632 new deaths per day and reaching 50,608, just over three months after the first death in the country was confirmed, according to official data from the regional health secretariats. According to data compiled by the National Council of Health Secretariats (CONASS), the country also reported 17,304 new infections with COVID-19 disease in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of infected to 1,086,990.

This week, Brazil registered five consecutive days above the 1,000 death mark, confirming the country as the second in the world both in number of victims and infections, only behind the United States. The figures show that the virus continues to advance rapidly in Brazil despite warnings from specialists that the pandemic has not yet reached its peak in the country of continental dimensions and some 210 million inhabitants.

According to data from the country's 27 regional health secretariats, São Paulo, Brazil's most populous state and home to some 46 million people, remains the epicenter of the disease, with 12,588 deaths and nearly 220,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The second most affected state by the health emergency is Rio de Janeiro, with 8,875 deaths and nearly 100,000 infected. Despite the growing number of infections, hundreds of people once again ignored the bans imposed by health authorities and filled the beaches of the 'wonderful city' on Sunday.

In Brazil's impoverished northeast, the most difficult situation is in the state of Ceará, which has seen 5,523 deaths and could overtake Rio de Janeiro in the next few days. Several Brazilian states and cities began their process of gradual reopening of the economy at the beginning of June, but many municipalities have backed down this week due to the rapid rate of expansion of the pathogen.

Tumbas en el cementerio de Nossa Senhora Aparecida en Manaus, el 21 de junio de 2020
AFP/MICHAEL DANTAS - Tombs in the cemetery of Nossa Senhora Aparecida in Manaus, June 21, 2020
Former ministers lament deaths while Bolsonaro remains silent

Various politicians, personalities and civil society movements lamented the more than 50,000 deaths that had occurred four months after the start of the pandemic and just over three months since the first death was recorded. 

Former Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta, dismissed by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro because of differences between the two on combating the pandemic, expressed his respect for the victims and said he was "praying" for the country. "50,000 lives lost. My respect for the victims. My former patient named Brazil, I pray for you! I wanted so badly not to reach this mark," Mandetta said on his Twitter account. He added that the country must "fight" and maintain "focus" and "discipline", as well as defend science and the public health system.

"Let's keep it together. Let's pray," the former minister said in an indirect message to Bolsonaro, one of the most skeptical rulers on the seriousness of COVID-19 and harshly criticized for his apathetic management of the pandemic.

El presidente de Brasil, Jair Bolsonaro, asiste a una reunión del gabinete
PHOTO/MARCOS CORREA - Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro attends cabinet meeting

Former Justice Minister Sergio Moro, who resigned in March also because of differences with the president, also lamented the Brazilian situation. "More than 50,000 victims of the new coronavirus. Very sad. Be careful. I remember that we already had a Health Minister," Moro said, referring to the sudden dismissal of two incumbents, Mandetta and Nelson Teich, from the Health portfolio in less than two months and that it is temporarily commanded by Eduardo Pazuello, a general with no experience in the area of health.

For his part, Bolsonaro did not comment on the figures reached and limited himself to uploading a publication on his social networks in tribute to a military man who died after a parachute jump. "Worse than the pain of defeat is the pain of shame for not having fought. Our mission is to defend the Homeland, our freedom and the interests of the majority of our people," wrote the ultra-right-wing leader on Twitter, who travelled to Rio de Janeiro on Sunday to attend the funeral of the dead soldier.