In the coastal city of Rio de Janeiro, intensive care units are 95% full. Similarly, another fifteen state capitals are on the verge of collapsing, with an ICU occupancy of more than 90%, a deluge of hospitalizations that has accompanied a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases in the country.
“Here it became a war against the president. It looks like people are just dying of Covid,” Bolsonaro, who was not wearing a mask, told supporters in front of the presidential palace on Thursday.
“Hospitals are 90% occupied. But we need to find out how many are from Covid and how many from other diseases,” he said.
Many state health departments in Brazil show data on both the capacity of the ICU dedicated to Covid-19 and other diseases.
On Thursday, Brazil’s health ministry reported that 2,724 more people had died from the virus that day, bringing the total to 287,499. These figures make Brazil the second most affected country in the world in terms of cases and deaths, after the United States.
Bolsonaro, who has long downplayed the severity of the pandemic, also said Thursday that he regrets the country’s death, but questioned the effectiveness of the closure measures, which he has resisted imposing.
“Of course, we want a solution and we regret any deaths, but why did the closure exist? You are seeing how the population suffers unemployment. Introduce me to a country where the fight against Covid works,” Bolsonaro said.
As cases escalate, the Brazilian president faces fierce criticism from citizens, potential political rivals and local officials across the country, many of whom have demanded that Bolsonaro step up federal action.
Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who has not ruled out running again in 2022, has criticized the current administration’s response to the pandemic, saying on Thursday that “there is no control in Brazil.”
Over the weekend, a joint letter from the country’s governors called on the president to restrict the operation of the country’s airports, ports, highways and railways, among other measures. Many have already imposed local blockade measures.
The National Front of Mayors (FNP) also sent a letter to the president and the health ministry on Thursday calling for “immediate measures” to address the critical shortage of supplies and medicines, including oxygen and sedatives.
“It is unreasonable for people, Brazilian citizens, to be led to deaths so desperate to‘ drown dry ’or to have to be tied up and kept conscious during the delicate and painful process of intubation and throughout the period people stay intubated, ”the letter says.
Brazil’s Federal Council of Pharmacies (CFF) says the current flood of Covid-19 cases raises “extreme concern,” as there is also evidence of a shortage of neuromuscular blockers and other drugs used in care. intensive, such as Midazolam, essential for human and safe intubation.
The Board of Health Secretaries has confirmed to CNN that these drugs are at a critical level and could be depleted within 20 days.
Journalist Marcia Reverdosa reported from Sao Paulo and CNN Radina Gigova of Atlanta. Rodrigo Pedroso and Caitlin Hu contributed to this story.
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