Government goes back on ‘patient zero’ claim

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After announcing that the first coronavirus-related death in Brazil had occurred in January — a full month before the virus had been detected in Brazil — the Health Ministry backtracked and kept its original date of February 26 for the country’s “patient zero.”

On Thursday, the ministry stated that, based on a “retrospective investigation,” the first Covid-19 death in Brazil had occurred on January 23 in Minas Gerais. But the government says there was a mistake in data entry by the Minas Gerais Health Department, which they were working to correct. The department allegedly entered January 23 for the date when the patient, a 75-year-old woman, actually registered her first symptoms on March 25, before dying on Wednesday.

Minas Gerais has reported no Covid-19 deaths prior to March 29.