GENEVA – A number of states in Brazil are in critical condition and hospitals are overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, World Health Organization epidemiologist Maria van Kerkhove said Thursday.
“Indeed, Brazil is in a very serious situation right now with a number of states in critical condition,” she said, adding that many hospital intensive care units are more than 90% full.
Brazil, where a more transmissible variant of the virus is circulating, has become an epicenter of the pandemic. The country is currently responsible for about a quarter of the daily deaths from COVID-19 worldwide, more than any other country, and its vaccination efforts were hampered by a lack of gunfire.
Sao Paulo, the country’s largest city, accelerated efforts to empty out on Thursday old gravesThis made way for a rising number of COVID-19 deaths as City Hall recorded record burials this week.
Relocation of remains is standard in cemetery operations, the community secretary responsible for funeral services said in a statement. But it has been given a new urgency as Brazil suffers from its worst coronavirus wave since the pandemic began over a year ago.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has been widely condemned for his handling of the pandemic, from downgrading the severity of the disease to criticizing early efforts to secure vaccines and opposition to social distancing measures.
Brazil’s Ministry of Health reported 3,769 new COVID-19 deaths on Thursday, narrowly missing a daily record for a third day in a row.