The death toll from Covid-19 has surpassed 500,000 in Brazil, the world’s second-highest country, as experts warn that the outbreak could grow due to sluggish vaccination and the arrival of winter.
As President Jair Bolsonaro refuses to support measures such as social distance, the infection continues to spread.
The situation is “serious,” according to Fiocruz, a health institute. Only 11% of adults have received all of their vaccines.
On Saturday, tens of thousands of Brazilians took part in anti-government protests.
President Bolsonaro has been chastised for not coordinating a national response and for his skepticism of vaccines, lockdowns, and mask-wearing restrictions, all of which he has pushed to relax.
In the last week, the country has seen an average of 70,000 cases and 2,000 deaths every day. According to Fiocruz, the majority of new infections and deaths occurred among adults aged 20 to 59. The advent of winter in the southern hemisphere, which begins next week, could lead to an increase in diseases.
Despite this, governors and mayors have already begun to ease the limitations put in place to prevent the virus from spreading. Restaurants, clubs, and shops have reopened in numerous cities, and many individuals on the streets are not wearing face masks or observing social separation.
“People in Brazil are exhausted, and death has become normalized, so I believe we have a long way to go,” says Dr. Natalia Pasternak Taschner, a microbiologist.
“If we’re not successful in changing the behaviour of people and if we don’t have campaigns for mask wearing, social distancing and vaccinations coming directly from the central government we’re not going to be able to control it.”