Brazil jumps to world No 2 in coronavirus cases, behind the US

Cheryl Sanders
May 23, 2020

The pandemic appears to be gaining pace rapidly in Brazil, and experts say the peak there is not expected until early next month.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The first confirmed case in Brazil was recorded on 26 February What is the situation across Brazil?

Pazuello's appointment to the top job came after then-Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta was sacked last month for publicly supporting state governors who shut down nonessential businesses and adopted other measures against the virus, and after Mandetta's replacement, Nelson Teich, resigned last week. Supporters organized rallies against the blockade, and the president also participated in some of them.

How bad is the outbreak in Brazil?

According to media sites, the virus is killing more nurses in Brazil faster than anywhere else in the world. The world's No 1 economy has more than 1.5 million cases.

São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil, with a population of approximately 12 million.

The petition, signed by 146 individuals and corporations, including former presidents Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff of the Workers' Party (PT), claims the Brazilian president is disrupting the efforts to contain the pandemic as well as the democracy in the country. More than 3,000 people in São Paulo died of the new coronavirus. As of Monday, there were almost 21,000 confirmed cases in Amazonia.

Health systems in various states have gone over capacity, with overwhelmed intensive care units unable to take in new COVID-19 patients, and experts say rising numbers of people are dying at home.

The federal government is also facing logistical problems that have affected their distribution of the 15,000 ventilators that are crucial to severe COVID-19 patients.

How does the president handle the crisis?

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro greets crowds protesting stay-at-home orders in Brasilia on May 17.

In March, he delivered a speech calling on the mayor and the governor to remove restrictions: "Our lives must continue, we must keep our jobs, we must return to normal".

Bolsonaro referred to the "scorched earth" policy of closing businesses and schools and restricting public transportation.

Despite the rapid rise in infection rates, Bolsonaro believes that most people, including himself, feel nothing to be afraid of the virus. I can't feel anything.

"The more tools we use, the better", said Miguel Domingo, a 49-year-old architect taking his two dogs for a walk in Madrid, which is emerging from one of the world's toughest lockdowns.

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