⚠️ UPDATE: 1,546 cases, 25 deaths

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The Health Ministry updated Brazil’s Covid-19 infections statistics:

  • 1,546 active cases
  • 25 deaths

Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta said “half of the population won’t be infected with the coronavirus. And from those, half won’t show any symptoms.” Brazil has a total population of roughly 200 million people.

He criticized what he called “tempestuous” actions by some municipal administrations—who have failed to act in a coordinated way. 

He added that Brazil has increased the production of respirators—and that the government will allow medical schools to advance the graduation of senior students to be used to beef up staff numbers in hospitals. That piece of information had previously been reported by our own Natália Scalzaretto on March 19 piece.

Mr. Mandetta said Brazil’s public healthcare system is adapting to the crisis, increasing the number of hospital beds. On Friday, he said the network could “collapse by the end of April,” due to the overburdening of hospitals.

Chloroquine against Covid-19 infections?

Mr. Mandetta explained that chloroquine had already been monitored since February due to some evidence of its efficacy, but nothing changed since then. “In severe cases, families have asked to use the medicine and doctors have been unable to deny treatment,” said the Health Minister.

Secretary Wanderson Oliveira warned that the drug does not prevent Covid-19, and should not be taken as a precautionary measure.

Fake news, for good?

The Health Minister also debunked an audio clip being shared on WhatsApp which appeared to feature Mr. Mandetta’s voice. The message asked Brazilians to be extra careful in the upcoming week. “From [Saturday, March 21] to next Sunday, [March 29] the country will head into the most critical week for [Covid-19] infections,” it says. “If we can contain the spread now, we might turn things around,” he added.