Brazil After the Collapse

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Brazil After the Collapse

Jörg Nowak

Health experts warned about it for weeks. In early March, the Brazilian health system entered a state of collapse under the weight of a nationwide spike in COVID-19 infections. Hospitals were not able to attend to all patients who needed treatment. By the end of March, all over Brazil, more than 6000 people were waiting for an ICU bed, most of them in overcrowded health centres and emergency wards without the necessary equipment and personnel for treatment.

In parallel, the power bases of the presidency of Jair Bolsonaro eroded in rapid fashion after he seemed to have consolidated his power in early February with... the election of his preferred candidates to the powerful positions of speaker of the Parliament and of the Senate.

The year began with the collapse of the health systems in the states of Amazonas and Roraima in the north of Brazil where the new and more contagious P1 variant of the Coronavirus originated. The minister of health Eduardo Pazuello received warnings at the end of December 2020 that oxygen supply shortages in the state of Amazonas might occur by mid-January, but he only acted when this lack inevitably led to numerous deaths on January 11 in the capital city Manaus. In the first days of January, instead of oxygen, he sent thousands of doses of the anti-malaria drug Chloroquine to Manaus, which has no proven efficacy against COVID-19.

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