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Brazil passes half a million COVID-19 deaths, experts warn of worse ahead

WorldJun 20, 2021 04:00PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Graves of people who passed away due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are pictured at the Parque Taruma cemetery in Manaus, Brazil May 20, 2021. Picture taken May 20, 2021. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly 2/2

By Eduardo Simões

SAO PAULO (Reuters) -Brazil's death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 500,000 on Saturday as experts warn that the world's second-deadliest outbreak may worsen due to delayed vaccinations and the government's refusal to back social distancing measures.

Only 11% of Brazilians have been fully vaccinated and epidemiologists warn that, with winter arriving in the southern hemisphere and new variants of the coronavirus circulating, deaths will continue to mount even if immunizations gain steam.

Brazil has registered 500,800 deaths from 17,883,750 confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to Health Ministry data on Saturday, the worst official death toll outside the United States. Over the past week, Brazil has averaged 2,000 deaths per day.

COVID-19 continues to devastate countries around the region with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) reporting 1.1 million new cases of COVID-19 and 31,000 deaths in the Americas last week. PAHO noted upticks in six Mexican states, Belize, Guatemala, Panama and some places in the Caribbean.

PAHO warned that Colombia's COVID-19 situation is at its worst point yet, with intensive care unit beds filled in major cities.

Experts see the toll in Brazil, already the highest in Latin America, climbing far higher.

"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."

Vecina criticized far-right President Jair Bolsonaro's handling of the pandemic, including the lack of a coordinated national response and his skepticism toward vaccines, lockdowns and mask-wearing requirements, which he has sought to loosen.

Thousands of Brazilians protested against Bolsonaro's management of the pandemic in nationwide demonstrations on Saturday, blaming the administration for the high death toll and calling for the president's ouster.

Raphael Guimaraes, a researcher at Brazilian biomedical center Fiocruz, said delays in the vaccination program in Latin America's most populous nation meant its full effects would not be felt until September or later.

Guimaraes warned that Brazil could revisit scenes from the worst of its March-April peak, when the country averaged 3,000 deaths per day.

"We are still in an extremely critical situation, with very high transmission rates and hospital bed occupancy that is still critical in many places," he said.

This week, new confirmed cases in Brazil accelerated to more than 70,000 per day on average, edging past India for the most in the world.

Vaccination will be crucial in beating the virus in Brazil, since the country has failed to reach a consensus on social distancing and masks, said Ester Sabino, an epidemiologist at the University of Sao Paulo.

"We really need to increase vaccination very quickly," she said.

However, evidence from neighboring Chile, which like Brazil has relied overwhelming on a vaccine developed by China's Sinovac Biotech, suggests it may be months before mass immunization will effectively curb transmission.

Nearly half of Chileans have been vaccinated, but their capital Santiago just went back into lockdown as cases surged again to near peak levels.

Brazil will need to inoculate some 80 million people to reach Chile's current per capita vaccination levels.

That will require a more consistent supply of vaccines and ingredients in Brazil, which have been spotty in recent months, as imports from China were delayed after Bolsonaro antagonized Beijing with comments perceived as anti-Chinese.

Brazil passes half a million COVID-19 deaths, experts warn of worse ahead
 

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Comments (10)
john doe
batman876 Jun 20, 2021 7:08PM ET
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I would bet that Brasil will NOT pass ***covid19 related deaths by December. Covid-19 was last year's flu.
Scott Bailey
Scott Bailey Jun 20, 2021 6:48PM ET
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Fauchi move to Brazil?
Bay Creek History Detectives
Bay Creek History Detectives Jun 20, 2021 6:48PM ET
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Americans and American investors think COVID is gone...oil prices on a tear. Is oil overpriced because the U.S. thinks COVID is done, since is gone there?
William Faulkner
William Faulkner Jun 20, 2021 5:40PM ET
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I read Edward's thoughts. Take note of one salient point. World mortality when studied decades from now will show that deaths were statistically uneventful pandemic or not. As life happens babies are born mortality will happen. As populations age people pass away. Not to diminish a variant of the flu because my wife's father has Covid and was relatively healthy. In the end his body couldn't fight the respiratory issues. If the flu variant of covid hadn't happened odds would suggest the other flu types or pneumonia would have been the catalyst of his death.
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Adrian White
Adrian White Jun 20, 2021 5:40PM ET
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"Flu variant of Covid"? What are you talking about? The influenza virus and the virus that causes Covid are completely different viruses. One is not a variant of the other. That's like talking about 'the cat variant of a dog".
Edward Lewis
Edward Lewis Jun 20, 2021 5:40PM ET
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As a thought experiment/illustration, let's say that there was a virus that ki.lls nobody. But you create a test for this virus that can detect the virus 100% of the time but has a 5% false positive rate and you test 100 million people. And let's say there is a 10% incidence of this virus in the population. This means that if you test all 100 million people, you will have 10 million positive tests from people who have the actual virus, and 4.5 million false positives (5% false positive rate from the 90% of the population that is uninfected). Now let's say you start counting everybody who di.es after testing positive for the virus as having di.ed from the virus. If 5% of the population di.es each year just for various reasons, this means that you are going to have 725,000 dea.ths counted from that virus...even if the virus actually ki.lls nobody. So I am not suggesting COVID-19 does not ki.ll people, but the way that they count COVID-19 deaths is false and misleading.
Edward Lewis
Edward Lewis Jun 20, 2021 5:40PM ET
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Adrian White  True, COVID-19 is SARS-CoV-2, which was produce in a lab in Wuhan that was doing genetic research on SARS-CoV-1 thanks to support/funding from Fauci/NIH.
Edward Lewis
Edward Lewis Jun 20, 2021 5:40PM ET
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Also, as a thought experiment/illustration, let's say that there was a virus that ki.lls nobody. But you create a test for this virus that can detect the virus 100% of the time but has a 5% false positive rate and you test 100 million people. And let's say there is a 10% incidence of this virus in the population. This means that if you test all 100 million people, you will have 10 million positive tests from people who have the actual virus, and 4.5 million false positives (5% false positive rate from the 90% of the population that is uninfected). Now let's say you start counting everybody who di.es after testing positive for the virus as having di.ed from the virus. If 5% of the population di.es each year just from other causes, this means that you are going to have 725,000 dea.ths counted from that virus...even if the virus actually ki.lls nobody. So I am not suggesting COVID-19 does not ki.ll people, but the way that they count COVID-19 deaths is false and misleading.
Edward Lewis
Edward Lewis Jun 20, 2021 5:40PM ET
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Edward Lewis  Sorry about the duplicate post with the thought experiment, this site gave an error message the first time I submitted it and thought it censored the post...this site has a lengthy list of censored words.
Jan Buyle
Jan Buyle Jun 20, 2021 5:29PM ET
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Never vote for narcistic populists... this is what you get...
Edward Lewis
Edward Lewis Jun 20, 2021 5:29PM ET
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You do realize Trump was not president of Brazil, and Biden is currently president?
Rick Baier
Rick Baier Jun 20, 2021 5:13PM ET
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Well it's known that dark complexion and obesity up these rates of Covid 19 deaths. China
Edward Lewis
Edward Lewis Jun 20, 2021 4:07PM ET
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Step 1: Test everybody for COVID-19. Step 2: Attribute every de.ath of people who test positive for COVID-19 as having di.ed form COVID-19. Step 3: Fearmonger and give government more power. People with one or more functioning brain cells see the sc.am as politicians and the media try their best to drag this on. COVID-19 is the only pandemic that has needed its own marketing and PR department to remind people daily it even exists. And to be clear, COVID-19 is real, but the fearmongering is related to statistical manipulation/deception and political motivation. There is a reason that the demographics of people who di.e from COVID-19 are identical to the demographics of people who di.ed before COVID-19 and the overall population mortality rate of the globe has been unchanged.
Edward Lewis
Edward Lewis Jun 20, 2021 4:07PM ET
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Also of notes, mass vaccinating the population including low risk individuals with experimental vaccines has been very helpful at accelerating the formation of resistant mutant variants. They are even admitting - under their breath - that the vaccines people are getting are not even expected to last a year.
Miriam Morkhul
Miriam Morkhul Jun 20, 2021 4:07PM ET
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You should follow the VAERS database. Generally healthy young people took the mRNA synthetic DNA genemanipulation shot, side effects: heartattack, Heartinflammation, brain hemorrage, bloodclots, convulsions, rashes, paralysis and many serious side effects.
Edward Lewis
Edward Lewis Jun 20, 2021 4:05PM ET
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Step 1: Test everybody for COVID-19. Step 2: Attribute every de.ath of people who test positive for COVID-19 as having di.ed form COVID-19. Step 3: Fearmonger and give government more power. People get the sc.am. COVID-19 is real, but the fearmongering is related to statistical manipulation/deception and political motivation. There is a reason that the demographics of people who di.e from COVID-19 are identical to the demographics of people who di.ed before COVID-19 and the overall population mortality rate of the globe has been unchanged.
Darryl Allen
Darryl Allen Jun 20, 2021 4:51AM ET
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muh variant
YouTube Account
YouTube Account Jun 20, 2021 4:51AM ET
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"it's a good sciency word, without having to be scientific" - scientists say
Rajesh Tayal
Rajesh Tayal Jun 20, 2021 4:01AM ET
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Why Reuters is using Indian variant terminology when it is Delta now by WHO.The anti Indian bias is very heavy in your minds😠😠
Edward Lewis
Edward Lewis Jun 20, 2021 4:01AM ET
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Globalists only have an issue with people talking about their Chinese masters, not China's Indian competition. There is clear political motivation behind it.
Edward Lewis
Edward Lewis Jun 20, 2021 4:01AM ET
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To clarify: India and China are well known economic competitors for cheap labor. Globalists have their money in China and not India, do their MSM mou.thpieces spew Chinese propoganda.
Edward Lewis
Edward Lewis Jun 20, 2021 4:01AM ET
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