Coronavirus

Over 1,000 Brazilian cities face oxygen shortages

Shipment of oxygen tanks arrive in Manaus following health collapse. Photo: Guenter Manaus/Shutterstock
Shipment of oxygen tanks arrive in Manaus following health collapse. Photo: Guenter Manaus/Shutterstock

Health authorities from at least 1,068 municipalities in Brazil reported to be at risk of running out of medical oxygen. The National Council of Municipal Health Officials (Conasems) believes the true number of cities in that situation might be even larger, as some municipalities only have enough health inputs to last for roughly one extra week.

No less than 87 cities surveyed by Conasems reported problems with oxygen supplies, and the council declared it a “national problem.” The crisis is set to worsen, considering the skyrocketing number of hospitalizations — which jacked up oxygen consumption by 300 percent.

Back in January, the Amazonian city of Manaus was the first to experience total oxygen shortages. Patients’ family members described hospitals as “suffocation chambers,” as multiple patients died of asphyxiation. Former Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello faces a criminal investigation for his alleged omission.