For the first time, daily deaths top 4,000 mark in Brazil

deaths pandemic brazil 4,000 mark
Brazil is inching closer to a “point of no return” in the pandemic. Photo: Jorge Hely Veiga/Shutterstock

Brazil’s Health Ministry reported yet another grim pandemic milestone in the country, with 4,195 new coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours. Brazil’s total death toll now sits at close to 337,000.

Meanwhile, state officials logged roughly 87,000 new cases, bringing the overall total up to 13.1 million.

The data underscores how fast the coronavirus continues to spread in Brazil. After topping the 1,000 mark for new daily deaths on May 19, 2020, Brazil would only reach the 2,000 threshold ten months later — on March 10 of this year. Now, it has taken less than a month for daily tallies to reach 4,000.

Health Ministry officials told The Brazilian Report that the country is likely to reach the 5,000 daily death mark by the end of the month.

A new epidemiological study by the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation corroborates those expectations and says Brazil should keep the same “critical health conditions” seen in March. “There has been an acceleration of Covid-19 transmission in Brazil,” says the report.

Physician Miguel Nicolelis, a Duke School of Medicine Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience, says the country is inching closer to a “point of no return” in the pandemic. Besides a widespread healthcare collapse, that would also include the saturation of the funeral sector. 

“If a collapse of the funeral system does happen, we will see corpses being abandoned on the streets and in open spaces,” he said, in a podcast hosted by news website El País Brasil. “We will have to use mass graves for hundreds of people wrapped in plastic bags. That could contaminate soils, water tables, and food products — which could spark new epidemics.”

Scientists have urged Brazil to adopt a nationwide lockdown for at least two weeks. So far, uncoordinated efforts by local officials have proven to be of limited efficacy. President Jair Bolsonaro, however, is still opposed to the idea.