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Oxygen, Medicines, Beds Are in Short Supply in Brazil

  • Overcrowded intensive care unit in a hospital in Porto Alegre, Brazil, March 21, 2021.

    Overcrowded intensive care unit in a hospital in Porto Alegre, Brazil, March 21, 2021. | Photo: EFE

Published 22 March 2021

As all this is going on, President Bolsonaro believes that his country "has been setting an example... at the forefront in the quest for solutions."

Brazil begins the week with a bleak outlook: supplies and medical facilities to care for COVID-19 patients are dramatically scarce in 25 of its 27 states.


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In these territories, beds in intensive care units (ICUs) have an occupancy rate of over 80 percent and the average number of COVID-19 related deaths exceeds 2,000 cases.

Although President Jair Bolsonaro's administration expressed "concern" over the advance of the pandemic, it clearly established that subnational governments are responsible for acquiring the "intubation kit", which includes oxygen, sedatives, analgesics, and neuromuscular blockers.

The Health Ministry argues that its job is only to "monitor" the availability of drugs in the national public network and send this information to private companies so that subnational authorities can make their requests.

Following this approach, the Federal government will carry out electronic auctions for the purchase of drugs nationwide. Local governments may join this process to provide information and "harmonize" the available reserves.

As all this is going on, the far-right President said his country is walking on a good path compared to last year.

"Brazil has been setting an example. We are one of the few countries that are at the forefront in the quest for solutions," Captain Bolsonaro said.

Despite his denialism, Brazil is already the current global epicenter of the pandemic. As of Monday morning, this South American country had reported 11,998,233 COVID-19 cases and 294,115 related deaths.

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