Brazil has become the second country, after the US, to register more than 50,000 COVID-19 deaths, which came amid growing political unrest and just days after the country confirmed more than 1 million coronavirus cases.
As of Monday, Brazil registered 50,591 fatalities, with a total of 1,083,341 coronavirus cases, also the second in the world after the US, according to the Johns Hopkins University.
On Sunday, Brazil’s Health Ministry announced that 641 more deaths had been registered in the past 24 hours. In the same period, it also registered more than 17,000 new infections, reports the BBC.
Brazil has recently been recording about 1,000 deaths a day, although figures at weekends tend to be lower.
Many experts believe the lack of testing nationally – some of them say the level is 20 times less than needed – suggests the overall figures could be considerably higher.
Regionally, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said that, of the 183,000 new cases reported globally in 24 hours, more than 60 per cent were from North and South America.
Mexico, Peru and Chile have been particularly badly hit, aside from the US, and on Sunday Argentina passed 1,000 deaths.
Latin America and the Caribbean now have more than 2 million infections.
Despite the threat of the virus, thousands of supporters and opponents of Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro took to the streets in rival demonstrations on Sunday in the cities of Brasilia, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
Bolsonaro’s decision to oppose COVID-19 lockdowns and focus on the economy has been hugely divisive, said the BBC report.
He has openly disagreed with advice from his own health ministry, arguing that the economic impact of lockdowns would be more detrimental than the health impact of the virus itself, and he retains strong backing from his supporters.
Two health ministers – both doctors – have resigned as deaths and infections have surged.