A week after President Jair Bolsonaro told Brazilians to quit their whining, the struggling nation has hit a new ominous milestone of nearly 2,300 daily deaths due to COVID-19. Brazil on Wednesday recorded 2,286 deaths—beating the record high of 1,972 set the day before—and 79,876 new cases for the third highest number in a single day, per the BBC and CNN. The country's main health institute, Fiocruz, has already warned about the "overload and even collapse of health systems." ICUs are nearing or at capacity as the highly transmissible P1 variant spreads. A doctor in Rio Grande do Sul's capital Porto Alegre describes "a war scenario," per the AP. "We see a good part of the population refusing to see what's happening, resisting the facts," he adds. "Those people could be next to step inside the hospital and will want beds. But there won't be one."
Bolsonaro, who's been touting malaria pills and other drugs unproven to treat COVID-19, has favored boosting the economy over measures that would restrict movement, as well as condemned governors who impose restrictions. On Monday, he refused to institute a curfew and lockdown in regions nearing maximum hospital capacity, though a national council of state health secretaries had recommended it. Fiocruz pulmonologist Margareth Dalcolmo says "governors, like a lot of the population, are getting fed up with all this inaction," per the AP. Some had debated instituting a curfew and limits on crowd sizes. But though the proposal they ultimately put forth Wednesday offered support for restricting activity, there were no specific measures. The AP reports "six governors, evidently still wary of antagonizing Bolsonaro, declined to sign on." (Read more Brazil stories.)