Deaths outstrip births in ten Brazilian cities as COVID-19 cases surge and the total body count nears 400,000

  • Ten cities such as Rio de Janeiro recorded higher death than birth rates in March
  • ICU capacity stands at 80 per cent and most patients are under the age of 40
  • The jab rollout has been painfully slow with only 6.3 million people vaccinated
  • Brazil is the global epicenter of the pandemic with more than 380,000 deaths 

There were more deaths than births in several Brazilian cities last month amid the country’s latest surge in Covid-19 cases. 

At least ten cities, including Rio de Janeiro, recorded higher death rates than birth rates in March.

According to the national Civil Register, Rio de Janeiro reported 36,437 deaths in March but only 32,060 births in the same period. 

Brazil is currently the global epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, with daily deaths last week surpassing 4,000.

The outbreak is pushing hospitals to breaking point with many patients dying before an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) bed becomes available.

ICU capacity currently stands at about 80 per cent across all of Brazil’s 27 regions.  

There have been more deaths than births in several Brazilian cities last month amid the latest surge in Covid-19 cases (pictured, cemetery workers inter the coffin of a Covid-19 victim)

Brazil is currently the global epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, with daily deaths last week surpassing 4,000

Over 13 million coronavirus cases have been recorded in Brazil, among them 380,000 deaths, the world’s second highest death toll behind only the United States 

According to the national Civil Register, Rio de Janeiro reported 36,437 deaths in March but only 32,060 births in the same period

Over 13 million coronavirus cases have been recorded in Brazil, among them 380,000 deaths, the world’s second highest death toll behind only the United States. 

Victims are also getting younger with over 50 per cent of intensive care beds occupied by patients under 40 years old, according to a study published over the weekend by the Brazilian Association of Intensive Medicine.

The new statistic is a jump of 16.5 per cent compared to the occupancy of that age group between December and February. 

The report is based on data from over a third of all the country’s intensive care wards.  

It is not clear why more young people are falling seriously ill during the current wave of the virus in Brazil, but some scientists think the new P1 variant that originated in the Amazon city of Manaus could be at least partly to blame.

Other factors, such as the behaviour of younger people who might feel less concerned about going out and socialising, and the vaccination of the elderly, could also be influencing the data. 

However, Brazil’s vaccination program has been painfully slow and only an estimated 3 per cent of the population, approximately 6.3 million people, have received both jabs. 

A further 21.1 million have received one vaccine, according to the country’s health ministry. But at least 1.5 million of them are behind schedule for their second jab and there has been no explanation for the delay from the government. 

The outbreak is pushing hospitals to breaking point with many patients dying before an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) bed becomes available. ICU capacity currently stands at about 80 per cent across all of Brazil’s 27 regions 

Bolsonaro has drawn widespread criticism for his approach to the coronavirus, which he has described as a ‘little flu.’ 

He has repeatedly ignored calls of health experts to wear masks and railed against the use of lockdown measures.  

A probe into the government’s pandemic response was launched on Tuesday after a Supreme Court judge ruled last week that enough senators had backed the inquiry.   

The congressional investigation, known by its Portuguese acronym as a CPI, can result in a number of actions, including the referral of possible wrongdoing to law enforcement. 

Bolsonaro has repeatedly ignored calls of health experts to wear masks and railed against the use of lockdown measures (pictured, freshly dug graves at a cemetery in Brasilia, Brazil)

 Experts say the recent explosion in Covid cases is fuelled by a local variant of the virus that is believed to be more contagious

In practice, the inquiry is a political headache for Bolsonaro, who is already facing record disapproval amid Brazil’s worst coronavirus wave.

Senate leader Rodrigo Pacheco said on Tuesday that a congressional inquiry into the federal response to the pandemic would be combined with a probe into how federal resources were distributed to states. 

Some Bolsonaro-aligned lawmakers had pushed for an inquiry to probe how states and municipalities have handled the pandemic, though Pacheco argued such a move could infringe on the jurisdiction of state assemblies.  

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