Brazil is easing restrictions despite logging record numbers of daily coronavirus fatalities, with President Jair Bolsonaro saying death is “everyone’s destiny.”
On Wednesday, Brazil recorded the highest number of deaths from the coronavirus in a single day. The 1,349 new fatalities beat the previous record of 1,262 deaths, which was set the day before, according to data from the country’s health ministry.
The country’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases also surpassed 500,000 this week. Only the US has more.
Striking images published late last month showed row upon row of mass graves, laying bare the state of the country’s crisis.
Yet on Tuesday, a number of non-essential businesses and venues in the major cities of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro opened their doors for the first time in months.
They include beaches, churches, car showrooms, and furniture stores, according to CNN.
On Monday, Marcelo Crivella, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, said that “if all parameters are followed – wearing masks and avoiding crowds – we will return to normal life, to the new normal, in August.”
Paulo Lotufo, an epidemiologist at the University of São Paulo, told The Guardian: “What is happening is an absurdity. The outlook is awful.”
Regardless Bolsonaro, who in March called the virus a “little flu,” said on Tuesday: “We are sorry for all the dead, but that’s everyone’s destiny.”
In May, two health ministers left their posts in the space of a month after clashing with Bolsonaro over the use of the hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment.
The ministers’ old jobs remain unfilled. This is also as the governor of northeastern Maranhão state, Flávio Dino, blamed the country’s high death toll on the president.