Healthcare workers take on a stretcher a patient suspected of having COVID-19 from an ambulance, at the HRAN public hospital in Brasilia, Brazil, Tuesday, March 23, 2021. Hundreds of Brazilian economists, including former finance ministers and central bank presidents, urged the Brazilian government in an open letter published on Monday to speed up vaccination and adopt tougher restrictions to stop the rampant spread of the new coronavirus. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

Brazil posts record single-day toll of 3,251 virus deaths

Brazil posts record single-day toll of 3,251 virus deaths

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil reported more than 3,000 COVID-19 deaths in a single day for the first time Tuesday amid calls for the government and the new health minister to take action to stem the nation’s resurgence of coronavirus infections.

In recent weeks, Latin America’s largest country has become the pandemic’s global epicenter, with more deaths from the virus each day than in any other nation. Tuesday’s record toll of 3,251 deaths was driven by the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil’s most populous, which recorded 1,021 new deaths, far above the previous high of 713 last July.

The pandemic has brought the health systems of Brazilian states to near collapse, with hospitals watching their ICU beds fill up and stocks of oxygen required for assisted breathing dwindle. Most of the states in recent days adopted measures to restrict activity, over the fierce resistance of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

In a 4-minute presidential address on TV and radio, Bolsonaro did not comment on the new record and said Brazilians will “very soon return to normal life.”

“We will make 2021 the year of the vaccination of Brazilians,” Bolsonaro said, as pot=banging protests against his government erupted in major cities. “That is the mission and we will accomplish it.”

Bolsonaro has consistently downplayed the severity of the pandemic, insisting the economy must be kept humming to prevent worse hardship, and he has criticized health measures imposed by local leaders. On Friday, he appealed to the Supreme Court to invalidate curfews enacted by two states and Brazil’s federal district, though the top court previously ruled that governors and mayors have the power to adopt such restrictions.

Public health experts and economists have said Bolsonaro is presenting a false choice between preserving health and economic well-being.

On Tuesday, cardiologist Marcelo Queiroga was sworn in as health minister, becoming the fourth person to occupy the post since the beginning of the health crisis. He replaced active-duty army Gen. Eduardo Pazuello.

Queiroga’s swearing-in was delayed a week while he divested holdings in companies in the health sector and the government sought to find a suitable position for Pazuello, Brazilian media reported.

Carlos Lula, chairman of the national council of state health secretaries, said in a statement that the coronavirus crisis has been worsened by delays in acquiring vaccines and a lack of communication on the importance of preventative measures. He called on the new minister to collaborate with state and municipal governments.

“More than ever, the population needs national co-ordination to face COVID-19, with precise actions, based on science, that guarantee prevention of new infections, facilitate the timely diagnosis of sick people and provide assistance for all Brazilians,” Lula said in the statement.

Seven of Brazil’s 26 states have reported problems ensuring sufficient oxygen supply, the health ministry told The Associated Press on Tuesday. The agency said it plans to dispatch hundreds of oxygen cylinders and install oxygen plants.

Hundreds of Brazilian economists, including former finance ministers and central bank presidents, urged the Brazilian government in an open letter published Monday to speed up vaccination and adopt tougher restrictions to stop the spread of the coronavirus, including possible lockdowns.

“This recession, as well as its harmful social consequences, was caused by the pandemic and will not be overcome until the pandemic is controlled through competent action from the federal government,” the letter read.

“The controversy surrounding economic impacts of social distancing reflects the false dilemma of saving lives versus guaranteeing the sustenance of a vulnerable population,” it added.

Brazil’s total death toll is closing in on 300,000, the world’s second highest behind that of the United States, according to the tally maintained by Johns Hopkins University.

Marcelo Sousa, The Associated Press

Brazil

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Alberta vaccine rollout expanding to front-line health-care workers

More than 240,000 eligible health-care workers can begin booking vaccine appointments starting… Continue reading

File photo
The Red Deer Rebels will have three new assistant coaches when the WHL regular season starts on Friday. Brad Flynn (left), will be on the bench alongside fellow assistant Ryan Colville (right) head coach Brent Sutter (middle). (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Sutter steps down as Red Deer Rebels head coach

Red Deer Rebels Owner, GM and head coach Brent Sutter has stepped… Continue reading

Premier Jason Kenney announced $200 million more money that will benefit seniors living in continuing care on Wednesday. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta’s in-school rapid screening test program expanding

Alberta’s in-school rapid screening test program will expand to as many as… Continue reading

Parents and students learned Tuesday what the coming school year will look like. It's pretty much back to business as usual, said Education Minister Adriana LaGrange. School precautions include frequent cleaning, keeping students in the same groups where possible, planning the school day to allow for physical distancing and staying home when sick. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta’s largest school board says no to United Conservative draft school curriculum

CALGARY — Alberta’s largest school board says it will not use the… Continue reading

Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan is among those who have signed an open letter criticizing the government’s return to stricter health measures. (Advocate file photo).
Updated: Kenney tells UCP caucus COVID-19 dissent OK, breaking health rules means expulsion

15 MLAs released letter on Wednesday critical of new health restrictions

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau watches a speaker appear by videoconference during a news conference in Ottawa, Friday, April 9, 2021. Grassroots Liberals have overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution calling on the federal government to develop and implement a universal basic income — despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's apparent lack of enthusiasm for the idea. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau winds up Liberal convention with election campaign-style speech

OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau wound up a three-day Liberal convention Saturday with… Continue reading

Team Canada skip Brendan Bottcher makes a shot against Italy at the Men's World Curling Championships in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, April 6, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Men’s world curling championship in Calgary in COVID limbo

CALGARY — The men’s world curling championship in Calgary remained suspended Saturday… Continue reading

Pipes intended for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline are shown in Gascoyne, N.D. on Wednesday April 22, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alex Panetta
Non-profit Quebec law centre to aid environmental group targeted by Alberta oil firm

QUEBEC — The Quebec Environmental Law Centre is coming to the aid… Continue reading

Conservative leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Conservatives cite empathy, relationships as ways to help expand their movement

OTTAWA — Conservatives should show empathy with Black residents who say they’ve… Continue reading

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. New Democrats are reconvening for the second day of a three-day policy convention as they look to push past the glitches of the virtual event's opening sessions and rally around keynote speaker John Horgan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
New Democrats reconvene as hiccups, frustrations plague national policy convention

OTTAWA — New Democrats reconvened Saturday for the second day of a… Continue reading

FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 23, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump speaks during a joint statement with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. Former President Donald Trump plans to affirm his commitment to the Republican Party — and raise the possibility that someone else will be the GOP's next presidential nominee — in a closed-door speech to donors Saturday night, April 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
Trump in 2024? He says only that ‘a Republican’ will win

PALM BEACH, Fla. — Former President Donald Trump plans to affirm his… Continue reading

A cruise ship sits docked waiting for passengers to be evacuated in Kingstown, on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent, Friday, April 9, 2021 due to the eruption of La Soufriere volcano. (AP Photo/Orvil Samuel)
Ash-covered St. Vincent braces for more volcanic eruptions

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent — People who ignored an initial warning to evacuate… Continue reading

Owner of 4 Point Taekwondo Kevin Mejia holds a board as organizer and martial artist Kevin Olsen breaks it in Edmonton on Friday, April 9, 2021. One hundred martial artists from around the world, will be breaking a board for an event called "Break for a Breakthrough." The idea is for martial artists to unite and re-engage with the arts because they may have drifted away or lost enthusiasm as a result of the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Break for a Breakthrough: Canadian hosts international martial arts demonstration

EDMONTON — Whether he’s breaking a wooden board, a clay tile, cement… Continue reading

Most Read