Brazil has hit the mark of half a million deaths by Covid-19 this Saturday (19), according to official records from the local health departments of the states, gathered by the consortium of Brazilian press vehicles. The real number, however, must be even higher, since not all of those infected do indeed take the test to detect the presence of the coronavirus.
With that, Brazil becomes the second country to surpass the mark of 500 thousand deaths by the virus. The United States had done it previously, surpassing 600 thousand deaths on June 15. The difference is that, over there, over 148 million Americans (45% of the population) are currently immunized; around here, this number is around 24 million Brazilians (11% of the population).
With vaccination still at a slow pace, the virus keeps spreading to all regions. In the last week, there was an average of 2,000 deaths per day from the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus. The daily average of new cases is around 70 thousand, which qualifies the current moment among the worst ones in the pandemic.
Since the first record of the disease in the country, in February 2020, over 17.8 million people have been infected by Sars-CoV-2 in Brazil — a number that is probably also underestimated.
Comparative data shows that Brazilian authorities have made several mistakes while running the country amidst the pandemic. When one considers the death rate per 100 thousand inhabitants, for example, Brazil is the 9th country with the most deaths, with 235 deaths/100 thousand inhabitants. Only countries with much smaller populations are ahead of this number.
Among the largest economies in the world, Brazil is the country that accumulates the most deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.
Despite all the available scientific evidence, President Jair Bolsonaro (without a party) maintains the negationist approach he has expressed since the outset of the pandemic. He has already underestimated the danger that the disease represents by calling it 'a little cold', cast suspicion on vaccines that have been proven to reduce the risk of death, besides refusing to comply with security measures against the virus, such as wearing a mask and social distancing.
In his speeches, the inaccuracies and expressions, typical of a political movement that opposes science, serve to cast unfounded suspicions on vaccines and on the use of face masks, which he describes as a symbol against individual freedom.
His beliefs have been reflected in the actions of the federal government, who seemed more committed to their defense and to the distribution of drugs such as hydroxychloroquine, provenly ineffective against Covid, and less committed to the purchase of vaccines.
Even after over a year of standardized scientific studies being carried out with hydroxychloroquine, and with other drugs included in the so-called "Covid kit", which have found no benefits in the use of it by patients, the president continues to advertise the medication as the solution.
The result: about a quarter of the Brazilian population used some medication to treat or prevent Covid-19 early on, according to a survey by Datafolha — among those who have declared their intention to vote for Bolsonaro in the 2022 elections, the index rose to 37 %. However, for the time being, there is no effective treatment available, and the death toll helps confirm that.
Translated by Cassy Dias