Brazil’s daily death toll for COVID-19 could reach 3,000 if serious measures are not taken to stop the spread of the virus, according to a presentation made at a meeting with the government’s emergency preparedness, two sources present told Reuters.
The inter-ministerial working group, which includes the Ministry of Health and the president’s chief of staff, met on Thursday to discuss the current situation of the pandemic in Brazil, where a brutal second wave kills people faster than at any previous point.
The 14-day moving average is currently 1,250 deaths per day.
Despite the high death toll, the two sources said that the Ministry of Health does not see any chance for nationwide social distance measures due to President Jair Bolsonaro’s opposition.
Bolsonaro has consistently played down the severity of the coronavirus and on Thursday, after two straight days of record deaths, the Brazilians asked to stop “whining”.
The Ministry of Health responded to a request for comment and said that it does not provide estimates. It did not answer questions about whether the estimates were presented at the meeting or whether the ministry agreed with the figures.
Sources said that the calculations were calculated by the health secretaries of the Brazilian states. The Brazilian president’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Brazil has the world’s second highest number of deaths, just after the United States. While the outbreak is slowing in the United States and Europe, Brazil is facing its worst phase of the epidemic to date and is driving its hospital system to collapse.
Rising infections have triggered local restrictions in the capital Brasilia and the largest city, Sao Paulo.
Of particular concern to health authorities is the emergence of a new variant of coronavirus from the Amazon region that appears more contagious and more capable of re-infecting those who previously had COVID-19.
The government’s delay in procuring and distributing vaccines also means that less than 3.5% of the population has received their first shot.