Third pandemic wave hits as Brazil surpasses half million deaths due to covid

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Jun 20, 2021, 01:17 PM(IST)

FILES) In this file photo taken on April 21, 2020, corpses of COVID-19 coronavirus victims are moved by a medical staff member in protective suit into a refrigerated area of the Joao Lucio Hospital in Manaus, Amazonas state, Brazil on April 21, 2020. Photograph:( AFP )

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As per the Health Ministry, there have been 500,800 deaths, including 2,301 in the last 24 hours. This week the average number of daily deaths surpassed 2,000 for the first time since May 10.

Brazil on Saturday, June 19, became the second country after the United States to surpass 500,000 Covid-19 deaths as the country fights the third wave of the deadly pandemic. 

As per the Health Ministry, there have been 500,800 deaths, including 2,301 in the last 24 hours. This week the average number of daily deaths surpassed 2,000 for the first time since May 10.

Ethel Maciel, an epidemiologist from Espirito Santo University, told AFP, "The third wave is arriving, there's already in a change in the case and death curves". He added, "Our vaccination (program), which could make a difference, is slow and there are no signs of restrictive measures, quite the contrary".

Taking to his official Twitter handle, Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga wrote, "500 thousand lives lost by the pandemic that affects our Brazil and the whole world. I work tirelessly to vaccinate all Brazilians in the shortest time possible and change this scenario that has plagued us for over a year". He further wrote, "I offer my sympathy to every father, mother, friends and relatives who have lost loved ones". 

Also Read | Brazilians protest Bolsonaro's role in half a million COVID-19 deaths

While life seems normal in large cities, where restaurants have opened, the situation is yet very critical in 19 of Brazil's 27 states with more than 80 per cent occupancy of intensive care beds. 

As the death toll soared, thousands took to the streets across Brazil to protest against President Jair Bolsonaro's pandemic response, blasting the leader for not acquiring vaccines fast enough and for questioning the need for mask-wearing.

The government faces fierce criticism for passing up early opportunities to buy vaccines. Pharmaceutical maker Pfizer said it got no response to offers to sell vaccines to the government between August and November last year.

Bolsonaro's press office did not respond to the request for comment. Only 11 per cent of Brazilians are fully vaccinated, and 29 per cent have received the first dose, Health Ministry data shows.

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