Posted: Sunday, June 20, 2021. 6:47 pm CST.
By Benjamin Flowers: Not long after the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020, Brazil emerged as one of the hardest-hit countries in the world; today, June 20, 2021, the country has recorded over 500,000 deaths related to the virus.
Worldometer reports that, as of 4:30 p.m., Brazil had 501,825 recorded deaths and more than 17.9 million confirmed infections, giving the country the second-highest COVID-19-related death toll in the world.
Reuters reports that many Brazilians are placing the blame for the massive impact of the pandemic in the country on its President Jair Bolsonaro, who refused to institute strict measures despite rising cases in the early stages of the outbreak and is now putting minimal effort behind vaccination rollout.
Despite being infected with COVID-19 last year, Bolsonaro, who has spoken publicly against mask-wearing, continues to refuse to wear a mask and does not encourage others to do so either. He also does not believe in World Health Organization-recommended measures for the prevention of spreading the virus, such as social distancing.
On Saturday thousands of Brazilians took to the streets in protest to Bolsonaro’s COVID-19 response, to show their displeasure as the average number of daily reported deaths climbed to 2,000.
The situation has gotten so bad that experts in medical circles within Brazil fear that many more people will die even when vaccine efforts intensify.
“I think we are going to reach 700,000 or 800,000 deaths before we get to see the effects of vaccination,” said Gonzalo Vecina, former head of Brazilian health regulator Anvisa, predicting a near-term acceleration in fatalities.
“We are experiencing the arrival of these new variants and the Indian variant will send us for a loop.”
Brazil’s number of infections is exceeded only by the India and the United States respectively; however only the US has more deaths related to COVId-19 than Brazil.
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