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One death every 75 seconds: Brazil’s deadliest day during pandemic

. Sep 28, 2020
death coronavirus brazil Graveyard in Amazonas. Photo: Alex Pazuello/Semcom

Of Brazil’s nearly 142,000 coronavirus deaths, the government is still trying to determine the exact day of 8,001 of them. This problem occurs as many deaths are confirmed long after they happen, and verifying accurate records has taken some time. That, combined with massive under-testing, means that Brazil doesn’t know for sure how many people have died from Covid-19 on a given day. According to data we have now, May 22 is likely to have been the deadliest day of the pandemic in the country: government data says 1,156 Brazilians lost their lives to the coronavirus within 24 hours, an average of one death every 75 seconds.

Challenge of keeping accurate death tallies

The process of designating the precise day someone died of Covid-19 is more challenging than one may suspect. Until June 18, the Health Ministry identified the exact date of 39,110 deaths between February 26 and June 13. Four weeks later, however, deaths in that same span had increased to 49,463, showing just how big a delay there can be in state health department data.

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Lucas Berti

Lucas Berti covers international affairs — specialized in Latin American politics and markets. He has been published by Opera Mundi, Revista VIP, and The Intercept Brasil, among others.

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