Deaths at Home Grew 53% during Pandemic in Four Brazilian Capitals

Almost 10,000 people died outside hospitals due to natural causes in São Paulo, Rio, Fortaleza and Manaus

Rio de Janeiro

João heard his neighbor's cries for help around 2:30am. When he entered the house, he saw Adelia, who was in her seventies, unable to breathe in bed. Thinking it was a heart attack, he tried unsuccessfully to do cardiac massage.

The ambulance arrived after 40 minutes in the upper part of the Rocinha favela in Rio de Janeiro. When she arrived, Adélia was already dead. It was another two hours waiting for another ambulance to go up the hill with a doctor to certify the death.

Country has 1.6 million infected and more than 65 thousand deaths in pandemic. ( Foto: Lalo de Almeida/ Folhapress ) - Lalo de Almeida

Adélia - the names were changed on request - had been coughing and feeling short of breath all week, and was living with her daughter and grandson who also had symptoms of Covid-19. The family, however, never wanted to take the test. She even went to the health clinic, where the doctor only passed a few tests and recommended that she stay at home.

With that, Adélia entered the sad statistic of people who died outside health units during the pandemic.

This number has exploded in the last three months in the cities of São Paulo, Rio, Manaus, and Fortaleza, according to an extensive survey carried out by epidemiologist Jesem Orellana, from Fiocruz Amazônia, at the request of Folha. He found that deaths from natural causes in households or public roads between March 15 and June 13 jumped from 6,378 last year to 9,773 this year in the four capitals.

This corresponds to a 53% growth, even higher than the increase of all deaths from natural causes in the period of 44%. The data comes from the Civil Registry Information Center (CRC Nacional), collected by the registry offices.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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