The coronavirus death toll in Brazil topped 100,000 as of Saturday evening, which is a grim milestone as the outbreak shows no signs of easing five months after the first reported case in the country.
With an average of more than 1,000 daily deaths since late May, the 210 million nation has the second highest death toll in the world after the US. Brazil also has the second most common overall infection after the US with 3,012,412 confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to the Department of Health.
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However, as in many countries, experts believe that both numbers can be much higher due to insufficient testing.
“We’re reaching this mark [100,000] and a lot of people don’t seem to see it, both among the government and among our people, ”said Silva. “They’re not just numbers, they’re people. Death became normal. “
Even as deaths and infections continue to rise, President Jair Bolsonaro, who said he caught the virus and has since recovered, has pushed for the country’s economy to reopen.
Many of Brazil’s 27 states have started reopening shops and restaurants, and people have returned to beaches like Rio de Janeiro.
Experts have complained about a lack of national coordination under Bolsonaro and unorganized reactions from city and state governments. Some reopened earlier than recommended by health experts.
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“We should live in despair because this is a tragedy like a world war. But Brazil is under collective anesthesia,” said Dr. José Davi Urbaez, a senior member of the Infectious Diseases Society, told Reuters.
“Today’s government message is, ‘Catch your coronavirus and if it’s serious, there is critical care.’ That sums up our policy today, “said Urbaez.
Bolsonaro, who has called COVID-19 a “minor flu,” has resigned two health ministers, both doctors, over differences with the president over social distancing and the use of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, most studies have found in treatment of COVID-19 will be ineffective.
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Bolsonaro has advertised the drug and said it helped him recover from his own infection.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.