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Brazil’s painful coronavirus milestone

by OtownGist

This week Brazil passed a painful milestone: the country’s number of confirmed cases and its death toll are now higher than in China, where the virus originated.

It definitely feels like the crisis has stepped up a gear – that the situation is going to become more acute in the coming weeks.

The images coming out of Manaus, the biggest city in the Amazon, have been shocking. They’re digging mass graves to cope with the numbers dying and the mayor himself has said the scenes are like a horror film.

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But at the same time, there’s growing pressure to open up the economy. There’s been no national lockdown, but schools and businesses in many states have been shut and movement has slowed.

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Now governors are talking about how to gradually start up again. But it feels premature.

One city in the south, Blumenau, reopened its shopping centres a couple of weeks ago – since then, there’s been a massive spike in the numbers of cases.

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If that happens nationwide, Brazil and its struggling public health system will be in trouble.

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