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Brazil Is Turning Into a 'Biological Fukushima'

It blew past 4K COVID deaths for the first time, per a Tuesday announcement
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 7, 2021 6:41 AM CDT

(Newser) – An already bad COVID situation is worsening in Brazil, which on Tuesday reported it blew past the 4,000-death mark for the first time, reporting 4,195 deaths in the past 24 hours. "If Brazil keeps the current pace, the country will probably reach 5,000 daily deaths in April," a researcher at Brazilian health institute Fiocruz tells Bloomberg. (The US one-day peak was 4,476, and our population is about one-third bigger) The BBC reports President Jair Bolsonaro did not speak of the death toll in comments to reporters on Tuesday and remained staunchly against imposing any quarantine measures, which he says would cause economic hurt worse than that of the virus and claims has been tied to obesity and depression. Epidemiologist Ethel Maciel is far from alone in disagreeing.

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She says that "at the rate we're vaccinating"—an estimated 8% to 9% of Brazilians have gotten at least one shot—"the only way to slow the extremely fast spread of the virus is an effective lockdown for at least 20 days." Absent that or something like it, scientists believe the country will soon outpace the worst of what was experienced in the US in January, when the running 7-day average for daily deaths hit a high of 3,285. To date, COVID has killed roughly 337,000 Brazilians compared to 555,000 Americans, but experts tell Reuters that Brazil could slide into the No. 1 slot this summer. A Reuters analysis has found that 1 in 4 daily COVID deaths around the globe are happening in Brazil. Hence this bold statement from Duke University professor Miguel Nicolelis: "It's a biological Fukushima." (Read more COVID-19 stories.)

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