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Catastrophe’ as Brazil hits record-high daily COVID deaths

International desk || shiningbd

Published: 16:32, 3 March 2021  
Catastrophe’ as Brazil hits record-high daily COVID deaths

During the weekend, at least five COVID patients have reportedly died while waiting for hospital beds the state of Santa Catarina [File: Bruno Kelly/Reuters]

Deaths surge as political infighting undermines effective pandemic response and vaccination roll-out falters.

Brazil on Tuesday posted its highest number of deaths from COVID-19 in a single day as political infighting exacerbated the country’s health crisis and the pace of its vaccination roll-out faltered.

Some 1,641 people died from COVID-19 on Tuesday, according to Health Ministry data, surpassing the previous single-day high of 1,595 deaths recorded in late July 2020.

More than 257,000 people have died of the disease in Brazil, making it the deadliest outbreak in the world after the United States.

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed Brazil’s hospital system to the brink of collapse, and state governors are now joining together to buy vaccines and bypass the federal government, which has been slow to roll out its vaccine program.

Brazil has continued to have a piecemeal response to the deadly disease, with individual cities and states setting their own policies in the face of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro’s repeated attacks on restrictive measures and face masks.

Last week, Bolsonaro disparaged the use of face masks, saying they could lead to headaches and a “decreased perception of happiness.” He had also threatened to cut funding to cities and states that adopt stricter lockdowns.

Roughly 10.6 million people of the country’s 212 million population have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, according to the Health Ministry, with 59,925 new cases reported on Tuesday.