The number of deaths related to Covid-19 has passed 500,000 in Brazil, the second-highest in the world, as experts say the outbreak could worsen amid slow vaccination and the start of winter.
The virus continues to spread as President Jair Bolsonaro refuses to back measures like social distancing.
The health institute Fiocruz says the situation is “critical”. Only 15% of adults are fully vaccinated.
Congress is investigating the government’s handling of the pandemic.
President Bolsonaro has been heavily criticized for not implementing a coordinated national response and for his skepticism toward vaccines, lockdowns, and mask-wearing requirements, which he has sought to loosen.
The president has said the impact of lockdowns on the economy would be worse than the virus and insists he has done all he can to buy vaccines from several countries.
The outbreak in Brazil has been fuelled more transmissible variants of the virus, including the one first identified known as Gamma. An average of 70,000 cases has been confirmed daily in the last week.
“Brazil faces a critical scenario of community transmission… with the possibility of worsening in the coming weeks due to the start of winter,” Fiocruz said.
The rate of occupancy of intensive care unit beds remains at or above 80% in most states, and experts warn the start of winter in the southern hemisphere, next week which could result in more infections.
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