More than 4,100 people died of the coronavirus in Brazil on Tuesday, the country’s highest ever recorded daily total of lives lost since the pandemic began, bringing the country’s death toll to almost at 337,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
At least 86,979 new infections were also recorded in the country on the same day. Brazil has the second highest death toll in the world after the United States.
According to experts, the highly transmissible P.1 variant is “impossible to stop” and could soon be a problem for the entire world to grapple with as people continue to transmit the infection across borders. Access to coronavirus vaccines needed to help curb the spread are limited, with research site Our World in Data estimating that South America has only administered around 6 percent of the world’s vaccine doses.
But despite overcrowded hospitals being pushed to near breaking point and doctors warning that even younger people had not been spared, the country’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, continues to push for Brazilians to continue going about their everyday lives, arguing that imposing a nationwide lockdown to control the spread of infections would hurt the economy.
Bolsonaro, who contracted the coronavirus himself last year, has long been criticized for his handling of the health crisis. In remarks made last year, he initially played down the severity of the disease by branding it “a little cold” and said it seemed excessive to shut down schools in the country.
Under Bolsonaro’s leadership, Brazilians were warned that the media was spreading “hysteria,” as the president slapped down local efforts to contain the virus, saying that encouraging people to isolate and shutting churches and shopping centers were unnecessary measures. “It will pass shortly,” he said in March 2020.
Earlier this year, the United States reported 4,000 daily deaths for the first time, with at least 4,085 deaths recorded on Jan. 7. The month went on to be the deadliest on record with the death toll topping 4,000 for six days.