As of Wednesday, April 1, notary offices across Brazil have registered 294 Covid-19 deaths, according to Arben, the sector’s national association. The number exceeds the Health Ministry’s figures by 50 people. São Paulo, with 204 deaths, and Rio de Janeiro with 46 are the most affected states according to notary data.
The association launched a platform to shed light on the crisis — as underreporting is a real problem in assessing the true extent of the crisis in Brazil. On this website, Arpen has also registered suspicious deaths by respiratory insufficiency and pneumonia: at least 9,036 deaths in March alone, though it is not clear how many of these cases are related to Covid-19.
The numbers, however, allow observers to draw a connection. The state of Minas Gerais registered only one coronavirus death in March, while notary offices reported 142 deaths caused by pneumonia — a number nearly 18 times higher than March 2019.
This live blog informed yesterday that São Paulo’s municipal funeral service has increased its number of hearses used to transport bodies and bought more coffins in response to an increasing demand related to the Covid-19 outbreak. According to local authorities, 60 percent of the cities’ 257 gravediggers are over 60 and had to be put on leave as they are considered high-risk groups. City Hall has hired 220 contractors for the next six months.