Brazil hits record COVID-19 death toll in April

Brazil hits record COVID-19 death toll in April

Maria Ferreira, 74, gets an AstraZeneca vaccine on February 9, 2021 near Manaus
Maria Ferreira, 74, gets an AstraZeneca vaccine on February 9, 2021 near Manaus AFP/MICHAEL DANTAS

SAO PAULO: Brazil marked a grim milestone Saturday (Apr 24), as April became the deadliest month yet in the country's COVID-19 epidemic, authorities said.

The South American giant recorded 67,977 deaths so far in April, making it the deadliest month yet before it ends, topping March's 66,573 fatalities, the Health Ministry said.

Just in the past 24 hours, Brazil recorded 3,076 deaths, with a seven-day average of 2,545 deaths per day.

Meanwhile, 71,137 new infections were also registered on Saturday, with a daily average of more than 60,000 new cases in the last two weeks.

Latin America's most populous country has recorded over 380,000 deaths among its 212 million people.

Only the United States has been worse affected in absolute terms, but Brazil's death rate per 100,000 inhabitants is the highest in both the Americas and the southern hemisphere.

Despite the data, experts say the curve of infections and deaths is actually stabilising in Brazil.

Brazilian public health institute Fiocruz reported Friday that "in the last two weeks there has been a stabilisation of cases and deaths from COVID-19, which characterises a new level of transmission."

The death rate should hover around 3,000 per day in the coming weeks, it said.

Brazil has fully vaccinated only 5.8 per cent of its population.

The Ministry of Health plans to complete vaccinating priority groups, comprising 77 million people, in September.

The Brazilian government cut by nearly 30 per cent the number of COVID-19 vaccines expected to be delivered between January and April, according to a new calendar released by the country's health minister.

Last month, former health minister Eduardo Pazuello said Brazil would receive roughly 103 million doses in the first four months of the year. But the latest calendar released by minister Marcelo Queiroga showed only 73 million doses.

The government said the reduction was due to lower-than-expected volume of active ingredients received and also because some vaccines are pending a permit to be used in the country.

Brazil's government had been avoiding releasing new estimates since Queiroga took office a month ago, but this week the country's supreme court determined that it present a detailed schedule.

Brazil has the world's second-highest coronavirus death toll after the United States.

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Source: AFP/nh