Brazil has reported its 120,000th death from Coronavirus here on Sunday.
The country of 212 million people has now registered 120,262 deaths from the virus and 3,846,153 infections, the health ministry said.
After the United States (US), Brazil is just the second country to surpass a death toll of 120,000 in the pandemic, where the number killed is now more than 182,000.
Unlike in Europe and Asia, where the virus hit hard and then subsided, Brazil’s outbreak is advancing at a slow but devastating pace, said a researcher at public health institute.
“Brazil is unique in the world. Since the start of the pandemic, its curve has been different from other countries’, much slower,” he told.
“It has stabilized now, but at a very dangerous level: nearly 1,000 deaths and 40,000 cases per day…. And Brazil still isn’t past the peak.”
‘Total lack of coordination’
Brazil confirmed its first case of the virus on February 26, a Sao Paulo businessman returning from a trip to Italy. It recorded its first death on March 16.
The pandemic soon turned political in Latin America’s largest country.
President Jair Bolsonaro condemned the “hysteria” around the virus, and attacked governors and mayors who imposed lockdown measures, arguing the economic damage would be worse than the disease itself.
The far-right leader has instead pushed the drug hydroxychloroquine as the solution to the health crisis, despite studies showing it is ineffective against COVID-19.
He again said Saturday the controversial medication had “saved thousands of victims’ lives” in Brazil.
Bolsonaro even took what he called the “right-wing” drug himself when he was diagnosed with the virus in July.
Experts widely agree the lack of a cohesive message from Brazil’s leaders is responsible for the country’s failure to “flatten the curve.”
“It’s terrible. There’s been a total lack of coordination by the federal government, which unfortunately is another characteristic of the pandemic in Brazil,” said Barcellos.
The virus has meanwhile spread from the first demographic it infected — wealthy travelers returning from abroad — to more vulnerable groups and to the interior of the country.