Brazil’s health system has 32 percent fewer ICU beds due to Covid-19

icu beds brazil
São Paulo hospital. Photo: GOVESP

More than 10 months after the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Brazilian hospitals are still suffering from the effects of Covid-19. According to recent data from the Health Ministry, the country’s public health system (SUS) had to deactivate more than one-third of the network’s intensive care beds in order to treat coronavirus patients. 

Back in July, when Brazil faced its initial peak of death and infections, 10,228 beds were available on the public system. Now, as a second wave begins — aggravated by breaches of isolation measures during the holiday period — fewer than 7,000 beds are currently available for non-Covid-19 patients.

This trend was more pointed in the poor North and Northeast regions of Brazil. The state of Rio de Janeiro saw a 82-percent decrease in ICU beds (739 back in July and 130 now), while São Paulo’s number of available non-coronavirus ICU beds has dropped 38 percent. 

The states of Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul, Goias, Mato Grosso, and Sergipe are the only ones to have seen an overall increase in available ICU beds on the public network.

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