The Coronavirus pandemic is wreaking havoc in Brazil, and its largest state, the jungle state of Amazonas is in “dire” conditions after their hospitals are running out of beds and oxygen tanks amid soaring Covid-19 infections. Jair Bolsonaro, President of Brazil said on Friday that “all means” are being made available to help Amazonas’ crisis.
Manaus, the state capital, was overwhelmed by the sudden surge of the coronavirus last April, but has now been hit by a second wave, which according to state authorities, is far worse, impacting not only the city but also the rainforest’s interior. While the soaring number of cases and deaths have yet to be totalled, Brazilian Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello described the healthcare system in Manaus as being in a state of “collapse”. He said in his statement that today around 480 people are waiting in line just for access to a hospital bed. Oxygen supplies are also low. Doctors and nurses in the local news reports are informing that patients are dying of asphyxiation in the city’s hospitals because of this lack of oxygen.
The state of Amazonas has sent a pleading letter to international NGOs, explaining their dire situation and asking for immediate help. They fear that if the situation is not curbed quickly, the disease will spread into the inlands of the state, where the traditional and indigenous populations of Amazonas are in a situation of much greater vulnerability.
However, the coronavirus is not the only crisis Brazilians are dealing with. Even before the pandemic, around 13 million Brazilians were living in extreme poverty and a full quarter of their population was classified as below the World Bank’s poverty line. The rapidly mutating virus has already killed about 212,000 people in the country, data shows.
In a ray of hope for Brazil, after failed attempts in the past, the Brazilian government announced on Thursday that a shipment of two million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford coronavirus vaccine was finally set to arrive from India.