Minas Gerais, the second-most populous state in Brazil, is climbing toward a peak in Covid-19 cases, with almost 76,000 confirmed cases. The desperate health situation has been camouflaged in recent months due to the state’s lack of testing, but it is no longer possible to conceal the severity of the epidemic.
One of the most pressing signs of the crisis is the reported lack of medical inputs to be used in Minas Gerais’ intensive care units, such as anesthesia and neuromuscular blockers. While local hospitals struggle to purchase such medicines, the state has been ignored by federal aid.
According to news website G1, Minas Gerais was not among the states that received ICU medicines sent by the federal government last week and it is also waiting for a new batch of 500,000 PCR tests. As we reported on May 16, the low number of cases seen in the state at the beginning of the pandemic — in stark contrast with neighboring states São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro — was due to a lack of testing and not effective social isolation measures. Moreover, an 884-percent spike in deaths by acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS, which can be caused by Covid-19) adds weight to that hypothesis.
Even if these tests arrive in the next few days, as promised by the Health Ministry, the kits in question are only sufficient to carry out the first stage of diagnosis, requiring further equipment for the tests to work. The report also mentions that, of the 150,000 PCR tests purchased by the state government, only one-third were delivered in May.Support this coverage →