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  • Burial of a Covid-19 victim in Vila Formosa cemetery, Sao Paulo, Brazil, May 18, 2020.

    Burial of a Covid-19 victim in Vila Formosa cemetery, Sao Paulo, Brazil, May 18, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 19 May 2020
Opinion

Brazil became the third country with the highest number of infections in the world.

With 257,396 COVID-19 cases and 16,941 deaths, Brazil Tuesday became the third country with the highest number of infections and ranked sixth in the number of deaths in the world.

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“Reality can be much worse for various reasons," the Spanish outlet El Pais warned, pointing out that hospitalizations for acute respiratory syndrome have exploded since the first infection.

“It is impossible to know, even approximately, the magnitude of the pandemic because Brazil has only done around 350,000 tests, 150,000 of which have not yet been processed. Spain, which has a population five times smaller, did 1.3 million tests.”

In this South American country, which has 210 million inhabitants, the far-right President Jair Bolsonaro denies the importance of the pandemic and frontally boycotts physical isolation and other preventive recommendations made by governors and mayors.

"The President is at war with science, which he turned into a political project. He even threatened to carry out a coup. It is very difficult to handle a pandemic as it has far exceeded all limits,” the Getulio Vargas Foundation specialist Walter Cintra said.

Besides the concerns unleashed by the former Captain Bolsonaro's authoritarian wishes, Brazilian epidemiologists are dismayed at the different capacities that local governments might have to respond to the pandemic if things get even more complicated.

On Sunday, Sao Paulo Mayor Bruno Covas warned that 90 percent of his city's UCI are already being used.

In an urban center containing 12 million inhabitants, the trends of the epidemic could force a total closure of activities similar to that implemented in early May in other smaller capital cities such as Sao Luis (Maranhao state), Belem (Para state), or Fortress (Ceara state).

When the management of the epidemic should be based on scientific evidence, Bolsonaro promotes the use of chloroquine in order to resume economic activity.

"An antimalarial medication is being used," El Pais confirmed and recalled that the last two Health ministers were against such measure.

"Both of them are doctors and, to avoid violating their Hippocratic oath, they went home​​​​."

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