Deaths by “undetermined causes” explode, while Rio plans reopening

RIO DE JANEIRO,BRAZIL,APRIL,22,2020:urban shopping center in rio de janeiro empty with street stores closed due to pandemic of covid-19
Rio’s city center. Photo: Photocarioca

The number of deaths by “undetermined causes” in the state of Rio de Janeiro has skyrocketed 6,100 percent in 2020, compared to last year. Nationwide, the increase is a more modest 43 percent.

Governor Wilson Witzel admitted that the state’s public health system is at breaking point, with more than 300 patients waiting for intensive care beds in public hospitals. Despite this, Mr. Witzel is still planning to loosen social isolation measures and reopen the state’s economy. He said that this resumption of commercial activity could be deployed in waves.

In the state capital, Mayor Marcelo Crivella said he will extend social isolation measures for another month, but stressed that this could change depending on the progress of the outbreak. The city of Rio de Janeiro adopted its first restriction measures on March 24, by way of a decree that is set to expire tomorrow.