(Mar. 24) Brazil became just the second country to cross the mark of 300,000 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic at a time when the disease is raging like wildfire across the vast Latin American country and overrunning hospitals. It took just two-and-a-half months for Brazil to go from 200,000 to 300,000 deaths compared with five months between 100,000 and 200,000 fatalities, in a sign of the speed at which Covid-19 and its P.1 variant is spreading. The Health Ministry reported 2,009 additional deaths on Wednesday, taking the toll to 300,685. New confirmed cases jumped 89,992 in the past 24 hours, to 12,220,011. Both overall totals are the highest globally after the U.S. “Brazil’s current scenario is really critical,” said Amaury Fabbro, a doctor and professor at the University of Sao Paulo. “It’s not just a question of overall deaths, but of overcrowded hospitals and supply problems. There are shortages of oxygen and medical professionals.” But while the U.S. has already vaccinated 25% of its population with at least one dose, Brazil’s struggle to secure supplies and coordinate a nationwide campaign among the federal government and its 27 states, means just 6% have received a shot. A patchwork response to the pandemic has complicated any consistent preventative health measures and enforcement has been near impossible. President Jair Bolsonaro has only recently begun to wear a mask more regularly as he faces pressure from the business community, supreme court and congress to come up with a solution to the health crisis that is hitting the economy once again. On Tuesday, Bolsonaro made a nationwide address saying life will be back to normal “very soon” and highlighted the importance of vaccines, calling 2021 “a vaccination year for Brazilians.” The televised address was met with louder than usual pot-banging protests in several cities across the country. Shouting from their windows, some protesters called him murderer. Hours later, Bolso...
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