As Brazil passes 600,000 COVID-19 deaths, vaccines offer hope worst is over

As Brazil passes 600,000 COVID-19 deaths, vaccines offer hope worst is over

[Image: 2021-10-08t221552z_3_lynxmpeh97132_rtrop...k=P6AdPTNX]

Brazil became the second country in the world to pass 600,000 COVID-19 deaths on Friday (Oct 9), a dark milestone for a government that has been sharply criticized for mismanaging the outbreak.

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President Jair Bolsonaro has drawn the ire of health experts for his failure to implement measures to contain the pandemic. He has railed against lockdowns, aired skepticism about vaccines and regularly refuses to wear a mask in public.

But despite Friday's tragic mark, there are now signs that infections in Brazil are finally ebbing, as the country ramps up vaccinations after a slow start. More than 70 per cent of Brazilians have received a first dose, compared to 65 per cent in the United States, which passed 600,000 deaths in June.

"The rejection rate of vaccines is really low, it makes other countries jealous," said Alexandre Naime Barbosa, head of epidemiology at Sao Paulo State University. "That's really important for Brazil to contain the pandemic."

Brazil also appears to have been spared the worst of the Delta variant so far, with registered deaths and cases falling despite the arrival of the more contagious strain.

Deaths are down 80 per cent from their peak of more than 3,000 per day in April, and Brazil no longer has one of the world's highest daily death tolls.

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