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Gravediggers bury the coffin of a person who died from COVID-19 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, May 22, 2020.

REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli

Brazil is expected to surpass the US in coronavirus cases and deaths by the end of July, according to the University of Washington. 

The country recorded a record of 34,918 new daily coronavirus cases on Tuesday, according to Reuters. 

Despite the growing number of cases, the country has not created a plan to tackle the virus outbreak. 

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Brazil is expected to surpass the US in the number of coronavirus infections and deaths by the end of July, and could lead the entire world by August, according to the main coronavirus tracking model from the University of Washington. 

The country which has yet to impose a statewide coronavirus lockdown is on it’s way to registering more than 4,000 daily deaths, The Washington Post reported. 

As of June 16, Brazil has had more than 923,000 coronavirus infections with over 45,000 deaths. Experts told Reuters that the true number of cases is most likely higher.

According to the Post, while the country is set to surpass the US, it doesn’t have the same infrastructure to be able to handle the outbreak. But that hasn’t stopped President Jair Bolsonaro from taking an approach of doing nothing to address the crisis the coronavirus is causing. 

In fact, he’s even attacked governors who chose to impose restrictions, and threatened to host large barbecues in spite of public health advice, the Post reported. 

Brazil has not initiated a national testing campaign, has not implemented a national lockdown, and is dealing with insufficient health care expansion. Reuters reported that that country counted 34,918 new daily coronavirus cases on Tuesday. According to the Post, that is five times as much as Italy saw during its peak.

In a report in early May, Carlos Machado, a senior scientist with Brazil’s Oswaldo Cruz Foundation and his team warned that without a lockdown in Rio de Janeiro, the outcome would be “in a human catastrophe of unimaginable proportions.

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He now says had his warnings been taken seriously, the outcome would not have been so bleak. 

“From the point of view of public health, it’s incomprehensible that more-rigorous measures weren’t adopted,” Machado told the Post. “We could have avoided many of the deaths and cases and everything else that is happening in Rio de Janeiro. It was an opportunity lost.”

Scientists in the country told the Post that the country is veering into completely unknown territory. 

“We are doing something that no one else has done,” Pedro Hallal, an epidemiologist at the Federal University of Pelotas told the Post. “We’re getting near the curve’s peak, and it’s like we are almost challenging the virus. ‘Let’s see how many people you can infect. We want to see how strong you are.’ Like this is a game of poker, and we’re all in.”

Bolsonaro’s approach has been to ignore the problem, and sideline health expertsPresident Jair Bolsonaro seen in Brasilia on May 13, 2020.

REUTERS/Adriano Machado

Reuters reported that despite the increased infections and deaths, senior officials leading the coronavirus response, which has been criticized claimed the outbreak was under control. 

“There is a crisis, we sympathize with bereaved families, but it is managed,” said Braga Netto, who spoke during a webinar held by the Commercial Association of Rio de Janeiro.

The World Health Organization’s regional director Carissa Etienne said that Brazil is a major concern, Reuters reported. 

“We are not seeing transmission slowing down” in Brazil, Etienne said.

Etienne said that the country accounts for about 4 million coronavirus cases in the Americas and around 25% of the deaths. 

According to the Post, Bolsonaro’s approach has been to ignore and sideline health experts. The Brazilian president fired Luiz Henrique Mandetta, his first health minister after disagreements on social distancing, and then he fired his replacement, Nelson Teich because he disagreed with the use of chloroquine as a treatment for coronavirus.

Similar to US President Donald Trump, Bolsonaro has boosted the use of hydroxychloroquine in the past.  On June 15, the US Food and Drug Administration revoked the emergency use authorization issued for the antimalarial drug

The Food and Drug Administration said Monday it has revoked the emergency use authorization issued for the antimalarial medications after previously allowing the drugs to be used in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The FDA concluded that the drugs were likely not effective in treating COVID-19.

One expert said even the public in Brazil did not heed public health advice to limit the spread of the virus, and continued to congregate without any safety measures implemented. 

“It was a failure,” Lígia Bahia, a professor of public health at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro told the Post. “We didn’t have enough political force to impose another way. The scientists alone, we couldn’t do it. There’s a sense of profound sadness that this wasn’t realized.”

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Topics #Brasilia #Carissa Etienne #Commercial Association #Oswaldo Cruz Foundation #President #SAO PAULO #The Washington Post #United States #University of Washington #World Health Organization