Rio de Janeiro: The Ministry of Health said that after a record number of deaths within 24 hours, the death toll from Brazil ’s novel coronavirus exceeded 20,000 on Thursday.
The country is the epicenter of outbreaks in Latin America, with the highest single-day casualties of 1,188, bringing the overall death toll to 20,047.
Brazil currently has more than 310,000 cases recorded, and experts say the lack of testing means that the actual number may be higher.
With its sharp rise in infections and deaths, this country with a population of 210 million ranks third in the world in terms of total cases, after the United States and Russia.
According to government data, the number of deaths-the sixth highest in the world-has doubled in just 11 days.
Despite the worrying spread of the disease, far-right President Jair Bolsonaro continued to call for the lifting of the blockade measures on Thursday to revive the weak economy.
But almost all of Brazil ’s 27 states are under some kind of blockade, although Brazilians are tired of the restrictions imposed since the end of March.
To date, Brazil ’s economic and cultural capital, São Paulo, is the hardest hit, with about a quarter of the country ’s deaths and infections.
The governor of Sao Paulo, Joao Doria, often clashes with the president over containment measures. He said that the country must fight both coronaviruses and “Bornovirus”.
But Bolsonaro and the governor made a reconciliation voice when they held a video conference on Thursday to coordinate their response to the pandemic.
The President called this “a great victory for the Brazilian people”.
Doria urged unity.
“Brazil needs to be united. If we re at war, we all face defeat. Let s go together in peace, Mr President, together for Brazil,” he said.
Hospitals in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and northern and northeastern Brazilian states are all about to collapse.
The authorities have been scrambling to build field hospitals with more beds, but they are trying to make it fast enough.
Bolsonaro made a famous comparison between the virus and the “little flu”. He seems to pin his hopes on the antimalarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to stop the virus.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, he has appointed two health ministers, and the key department is now run by the temporary army general Eduardo Pazuello.
According to reports, the last health minister, Nelson Teich, took office less than a month and resigned last week. According to reports, the president has clashed with Bolsonaro due to the widespread use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine.
These drugs show uncertain results for coronaviruses, and scientists say that further research is needed to determine whether they are safe and effective for COVID-19.
But just like US President Donald Trump, who often compares with him, Bolsonaro sees them as potential magic drugs.
Teich went out soon, and the Bolsonaro government recommended on Wednesday that all patients with COVID-19 should immediately receive one of the drugs as soon as they develop symptoms.
“There is still no scientific proof, but (chloroquine) is being monitored and used in Brazil and around the world,” Bolsonaro tweeted afterward.
“We are at war.”