Families mourn as Brazil hits 400,000 COVID deaths
Nicole Martins had hoped her mother, hospitalised with COVID-19 last month, was on the mend. But when the 24-year-old arrived at the hospital, the look on her father’s face confirmed her worst fears.
“I thought she was getting out,” Martins told Al Jazeera. “But then I got there and saw my dad in tears.”
The Martins are one of hundreds of thousands of Brazilian families who have lost a loved one to COVID-19 since the coronavirus first began spreading across the country like wildfire.
On Thursday the South American nation surpassed 400,000 coronavirus-related deaths, the second-highest total in the world after the United States. More than half of those were recorded in 2021, while April has been the deadliest month since the start of the pandemic.
Experts blame several factors for the recent uptick, including the more contagious P1 variant, fatigue with restrictive measures such as lockdowns, and slow vaccine rollout.
“With 50 percent of the deaths from COVID happening this year, it shows that the crisis is totally out of control,” Jesem Orellana, an epidemiologist with the Fiocruz medical research institute in the Amazonian capital of Manaus, told Al Jazeera.
Manaus is where the P1 variant was first detected and where in January patients died in their beds asphyxiated due to inadequate oxygen supplies.
Brazil’s far-right populist President Jair Bolsonaro’s response to the crisis, which included downplaying the severity of the disease and casting doubt on masks and vaccines, has been condemned by health experts worldwide.
A Senate commission opened an inquiry this week into the government’s handling of the pandemic.
“We’ve suffered here a lot with access to information and fake news, like the virus is just a little flu,” said Andre Ferreira, a community leader with Brigada Pela Vida (Life Brigade), an NGO that does COVID-19 outreach in poor communities across Sao Paulo.
Meanwhile, thousands of families continue to suffer each day as their loved ones die…..read more
Source: Al Jazeera