According to data from Brazil’s National Civil Registry, 615,329 deaths were reported in the country between January 1 and April 30. Of those, 208,370 were related to Covid-19, according to Brazil’s health ministry — 33.9% of the nation’s total.
The coronavirus has surged with a vengeance in the South American giant in recent months — fueled in part by a disregard for social distancing precautions and the emergence of extra-contagious new variants — and has claimed more lives in the past four months than in all of 2020. More than 78,000 people in Brazil were killed by the virus last month alone.
While the government of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has been loath to impose restrictions on movement or economic activity, local lockdown measures imposed by state governors and city mayors in March and April are working to slow the pandemic’s recent resurgence. The daily death rate has fallen from its peak of more than 4,000 in April to about 2,100.
But as local authorities reopen the economy, urged on by Bolsonaro, Brazilian scientists warn of a new surge of cases and deaths this summer.
When Brazil surpassed 400,000 Covid-19 deaths April 29, Bolsonaro commented briefly on the situation.
Brazilian Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga said Monday he expects to sign a deal soon for 100 million Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine doses, and that the majority of Brazilians should be immunized by the end of the year.
But for now, Brazil continues to lag behind fellow South American countries such as Chile and Uruguay, which increasingly see their neighbor as a epidemiological threat.