‘Don't be sissies’: President's shocking message as Covid spikes

Brooke Rolfe
·News Reporter
·3-min read

Record-high rates of coronavirus deaths in Brazil have been partially attributed to the lacklustre approach of the country's president, who this week the told people to stop "whining" about the virus.

After President Jair Bolsonaro's recent inflammatory comments in the media, the country registered a record of 2286 daily Covid-19 fatalities Wednesday (local time), according to the health ministry.

New coronavirus infections tallied 79,876 to bring the total in the year-long pandemic to more than 11.2 million, the ministry said this week.

The nation's total death toll has reached 270,656, with Brazil second only to the United States as the country with the most Covid-19 deaths in the world.

The nation recently surpassed the US in daily Covid cases and deaths, with the death toll surging to 2286 on Wednesday, while the US recorded 1947 deaths on Tuesday.

Brazil's seven-day average daily death toll rose to 1,573, while in the US, that figure has dropped to 1,566 a day.

President Jair Bolsonaro wearing a surgical mask.
President Jair Bolsonaro told Brazilians to stop being "sissies". Source: AAP

Despite such shocking figures and hospitals being on the verge of collapse due to the volume of people sick with the virus, Mr Bolsonaro has continued to play down the severity of the threat.

He last week congratulated agricultural workers for not staying home from an event "like cowards".

"We have to face our problems. Stop being sissies, enough whining, how long are they going to keep on crying? We have to confront the problems, respecting the elderly, those with illnesses, chronic conditions. But where is Brazil going to end up if we all stop?" he said.

Brazil has now overtaken the United States to record the highest number of coronavirus deaths globally. Source: Our World in Data
Brazil has now overtaken the United States to record the highest number of coronavirus deaths globally. Source: Our World in Data

Mr Bolsonaro on Monday (local time) finally agreed to buy the Pfizer vaccine, having consistently ignored the need to "rush" for vaccines.

Brazilians continue defying health orders

Health experts have argued his approach has potentially deadly consequences, with many Brazilians continuing to defy mask mandates and mobility restrictions.

"We are going through the worst-case scenario since the beginning of the pandemic," Gonzalo Vecina Neto, a Sao Paulo University professor of Public Health, told Reuters television.

Graves being dug for coronavirus victims in Brazil as someone is buried.
Coronavirus deaths have surpassed daily records three times this month alone in Brazil. Source: AAP

"You just have to look at the trends in the average number of deaths. This could have been avoided and the most important factor is gatherings."

The record for the highest number of deaths in a 24 hour period has been broken three times this month alone.

Intensive Care Units in 22 of Brazil's 26 states have surpassed 80 per cent occupancy, including in Rio Grande do Sul where patients are forced to line up for a bed.

The occupancy rates of ICUs have already surged passed 103 per cent in the state, with neighbouring state Santa Catarina surpassing 99 per cent occupancy.

With Reuters

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