“Crazy” scenes have been captured at a department store in Brazil as the country’s Covid-19 deaths exceed 150,000.
Only the USA has more recorded deaths from coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
But videos captured from a department store and shared on Twitter by Glenn Greenwald, a journalist for Brazilian publication The Intercept, shows people crowding into the Havan department store in the city of Belem.
Greenwald added the store is owned by Luciano Hang – a supporter of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has been criticised for playing down the threat of the coronavirus throughout the pandemic.
The scene today in COVID-ridden Brazil, in the city of Belém, where a new Havan department store -- owned by one of Bolsonaro's primary funders and most loyal supporters, @luciano_hang -- opened with Hang present, encouraging more and more crowds:pic.twitter.com/vWJsfCeUJY— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) October 10, 2020
People called the video “horrific”, “crazy”, “insane” and an example of “Covid madness”.
“I don’t even. I can’t even. Hoping for the safety and wellbeing of these shoppers,” one man tweeted.
Another simply said: “Can’t cure stupid”.
Mr Bolsonaro played down the severity of the virus while deaths mounted rapidly in Brazil. The 65-year-old president flouted social distancing at lively demonstrations and encouraged crowds during outings from the presidential residence.
Mr Bolsonaro rejected governors' and mayors' lockdowns and other tough measures to contain the virus' spread, even after he contracted it himself in July, and insisted that shutting down Brazil's economy would pitch the nation into chaos.
"Life goes on. Brazil needs to produce," he said on July 7 in Brasilia when he announced he was infected.
There have been recent signs of relief in Brazil. In the past month and a half, the viral curve has dropped.
The average number of deaths sat at 598 in the past seven days, the lowest level since the beginning of May.
The mayors of large cities such as Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro continue to reopen activities such as cinemas and schools, even as public health experts warn of possible new outbreaks.
The Brazilian health ministry on Saturday reported the death toll was 150,198.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.