Bolsonaro Rails at Masks as Brazil’s Covid Deaths Surge

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RIO DE JANEIRO — The every day loss of life toll of Covid-19 in Brazil hit a report excessive of 1,582 on Thursday, in accordance with a information consortium’s survey of native well being departments. The painful milestone got here as President Jair Bolsonaro railed in opposition to face masks, regardless of compelling scientific proof that they’re efficient at stopping infections.

An increase in coronavirus infections in a number of states in Brazil, which officers say is being pushed by extra contagious variants, has overwhelmed hospitals throughout the nation.

Whereas epidemiologists and well being officers warn of a worsening disaster within the weeks forward, Mr. Bolsonaro took intention at masks throughout his weekly deal with on Fb Thursday. Citing an unspecified German research, the president stated masks have been dangerous for youngsters and that carrying them may result in complications, problem concentrating and a “decreased notion of happiness.”

Mr. Bolsonaro has been criticized at residence and overseas for his cavalier response to the coronavirus pandemic. He has questioned using quarantine measures, social distancing and has sowed doubts about vaccines, saying he doesn’t intend to get a shot.

Whereas new circumstances and deaths are dropping in a variety of different international locations that have been onerous hit by the pandemic, together with the US, Brazil is within the grip of a second wave that started in November and reveals no signal of easing.

The nation started vaccinating medical professionals and older folks final month, however the marketing campaign is off to a gradual begin as a result of the federal government has struggled to obtain sufficient doses to rapidly inoculate its 212 million residents.

This week, Brazil’s Covid loss of life toll surpassed 250,000, which is second solely to the U.S. depend of greater than 500,000 deaths. The Brazilian well being minister, Eduardo Pazuello, stated on Thursday that the nation had entered a “new stage of the pandemic” on account of variants that he stated are thrice extra contagious than earlier strains of the virus. “That’s the actuality we’re residing right now in Brazil,” he stated.

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