Deaths related to Covid-19 have passed 500,000 in Brazil, now the second-highest in the world. Experts further believe that the outbreak could worsen amid slow vaccination, the start of winter and President Jair Bolsonaro’s refusal to back measures like social distancing. As for vaccine protection, according to the health institute Fiocruz, the situation is “critical”. Only 11% of adults are fully vaccinated.
The 500,000 threshold was met by tens of thousands of Brazilians rallying in anti-government protests on Saturday. President Bolsonaro has been heavily criticised for not implementing a co-ordinated national response and for his scepticism toward vaccines, lockdowns and mask-wearing requirements, which he has sought to loosen.
Last week, Brazil reported a daily average of 70,000 new cases and 2,000 deaths. Most of the new infections and deaths were among people aged 20-59.
Despite this, motivated by the President’s demeanor and guidance, governors and mayors have prematurely relaxed the restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the virus. In many cities, restaurants, bars and shops have reopened while many people in the streets do not wear face masks or follow social distancing.