President Jair Bolsonaro’s prediction that the coronavirus crisis was nearing an end was misguided in Brazil and many of its neighbours
South America produced some of the most horrific episodes of the pandemic last year, with mass graves dug in the Brazilian Amazon and bodies dumped on pavements in the Ecuadorian city of Guayaquil. But at the end of 2020 there was some hope that with the onset of vaccination the worst might have passed. Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, even claimed the crisis had reached its “tail-end” in December.
Such predictions have proved grotesquely misguided. Brazil’s death toll has since more than doubled to more than 400,000, after an explosion of infections caused a catastrophic healthcare collapse. At least 100,000 Brazilians have died in the last 36 days and 100,000 more are expected to lose their lives before July.
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