Rio de Janeiro, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – June 20, 2021): Brazil crossed the grim threshold of 500,000 coronavirus deaths on Saturday, behind the United States in the number of lives lost to Covid-19.
“500,000 lives lost due to the pandemic affecting our Brazil and the world,” tweeted Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga.
The latest update from his ministry says the toll now stands at 500,800, with 2,301 deaths in the past 24 hours. Experts say government Covid figures underestimate the true toll of the health crisis.
This week, the average daily death toll in Brazil surpassed 2,000 for the first time on May 10.
Brazil, with a population of 212 million, has become the second country after the United States to exceed 500,000 deaths from Covid-19.
The South American giant has experienced a second wave of the pandemic this year, when at one point it exceeded 4,000 deaths per day.
More than 60% of deaths in Brazil have occurred since the start of 2021.
Brazil now appears to be grappling with a third wave of its epidemic, with an increase in infections and deaths.
According to the latest weekly report from the medical research foundation Fiocruz, the country finds itself in a “critical” situation with a high number of deaths and the possibility that things will get worse in the coming weeks with the arrival of the winter in the southern hemisphere.
Experts are concerned about the slow roll-out of the country’s vaccination campaign, the spread of more aggressive viral variants, and President Jair Bolsonaro’s hostility to preventive measures such as wearing a mask and lockdown measures.
Queiroga tweeted that he was working “tirelessly to vaccinate all Brazilians as soon as possible and change this scenario that has plagued us for over a year”.