Tue, 22 Sep 2020

Brazil Becomes 2nd Nation to Pass 100,000 Pandemic Deaths

Voice of America
09 Aug 2020, 10:35 GMT+10

Brazil on Saturday became the second country in the world to pass 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus, second to the United States, which has more than 161,000 deaths and is nearing a different milestone of its own: nearly 5 million confirmed cases of coronavirus. Brazil reported 3 million cases, also on Saturday.

Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, said Thursday he had "a clear conscience" despite the toll. Bolsonaro himself survived COVID-19 last month and said he had done "everything possible to save lives." Because of insufficient tests, experts say, the number of Brazilians with the virus could be six times higher.

Brazil has registered more than 1,000 deaths a day for several weeks, something the U.S. has suffered for more than 11 days. Brazil and the U.S. have similar numbers of deaths per 1 million residents, 478 for Brazil, 487 for the U.S. Both are lower than Spain and Italy, which are 609 and 583 respectively.

The pandemic has had an uneven effect across Brazil's 27 states. In Brasilia, the capital, almost 80 percent of the ICU beds are full, but in Rio De Janeiro, the occupation rate is less than 30 percent. In Rio, the stores and restaurants are open and the beaches are in use.

"The situation is very comfortable, and we don't understand why it is happening," said Graccho Alvim, director of the state's association of hospitals, according to the Associated Press.

In the U.S., the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation released a model Thursday predicting nearly 300,000 deaths by December 1 if Americans don't start consistently wearing face masks.

"The public's behavior had a direct correlation to the transmission of the virus and, in turn, the numbers of deaths," IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray said in a statement. If 95 percent of Americans start wearing masks, more than 66,000 lives would be saved, the statement said. That same day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention forecast 181,000 deaths by the end of August.

Part of the problem, Murray said, is that Americans move around a lot and they bring the virus with them.

"If you look at the mobility data collected from cellphones in many parts of the country, we're almost back to pre-COVID levels of mobility, so we're just not being as cautious as other people are in other countries," Murray told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Friday.

Murray did have some encouraging news: The rate of mask wearing has risen about 5 percent in the last 10 days, especially in hot spot states like California, Texas and Florida.

In France, the government ordered face masks be worn outside in busy areas -- except around some tourist sites, including the Eiffel Tower -- starting Monday. The government said its tourism industry has lost at least 30-40 billion euros in the immediate impact of the health crisis.

"The French are participating massively in the revival of the tourism sector by favoring France" and 70 percent of those who have gone on vacation have chosen to stay in their country, said the secretary of State Tourism, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, in an interview with the Journal du Dimanche.

"This saves the essential," he said. "But let's be clear: in normal times, France welcomes 17 million foreign tourists every summer when 9 million French people go abroad" and "a part of this international clientele has disappeared," he added.

Beginning Saturday in Britain, people are required to wear masks in most indoor settings. In England and Scotland, masks must be worn in places of worship, banks, libraries and in many other indoor places.

Masks were already required in shops and on public transit, but more stringent measures were imposed to contain a surge in coronavirus infections in Britain after easing lockdown requirements.

Travelers arriving in Germany from most non-European countries and regions within the European Union with high infection rates must undergo testing for the coronavirus beginning Saturday. Travelers from high-risk areas were previously required to self-quarantine for 14 days or until they can produce a negative test.

In Australia on Saturday, Victoria state reported 466 new coronavirus cases and 12 deaths. Victoria is home to more than two-thirds of Australia's almost 21,000 COVID-19 infections. Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said six of the deaths were linked to outbreaks at senior citizens facilities.

India reported 933 new COVID-19 deaths over a 24-hour period as infections surged by more than 61,000 to nearly 2.1 million. India has the world's third-highest number of infections after the U.S. and Brazil, where the death toll was expected to reach 100,000 on Saturday.

More South America News

Access More

Sign up for South America News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!