Brazil has recorded over 4,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours for the first time, according to data from the health ministry, as a more contagious variant continues to spread.
Data from the health ministry on April 6 showed that Brazil has recorded 4,195 deaths in a single day, bringing the total nationwide death toll to 336,947.
Data also showed that Brazil has reported 86,979 new cases on the same day, bringing the total number of cases nationwide to 13,100,580.
According to Johns Hopkins University, Brazil has the second highest number of cases and deaths in the world, coming after the United States.
A more contagious variant of the virus has fueled the surge in cases in the South American country, overwhelming the health system to the brink of collapse in many areas.
According to health institute Fiocruz, COVID-19 patients occupy 90% of intensive care unit beds in most Brazilian states.
“We’re in a dreadful situation, and we’re not seeing effective measures by either state or federal governments,” Espirito Santo Federal University Epidemiologist Ethel Maciel told AFP News.
“At the rate we’re vaccinating… the only way to slow the extremely fast spread of the virus is an effective lockdown for at least 20 days,” Maciel also said.
According to official data gathered by the local press, a total of 20,023,123 people in an estimated population of 211 million have received the first dose while 5,595,929 have received the second dose.
However, President Jair Bolsonaro continues to oppose implementing any lockdown measures to curb the spread of the virus., arguing hat the damage to the economy would be worse than the impact of the virus itself. He has also attempted in courts to revert some restrictions that local authorities imposed.