Brazil passes 10 million coronavirus infections

Published February 19, 2021, 7:49 AM

by Agence-France-Presse

Brazil, the country with the second-highest coronavirus death toll, passed the 10-million mark for reported infections Thursday, amid a deadly second wave and problems with its vaccination campaign.

Employees using personal protective equipment (PPI) work during the production of vaccines against Covid-19 at the Osvaldo Cruz Foundation (FIOCRUZ), in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on February 12, 2021. – In this phase of the production, the first doses of the vaccine are being bottled and sent to the quality control department before being released for vaccination. (Photo by ANDRE COELHO / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

The country became the third to reach the grim mark — after the United States and India — with more than 51,900 new infections in 24 hours, according to official data.

Over the same one-day period, 1,367 people died, bringing the total to over 243,400.

Brazil’s figure of 10,030,626 came amid mounting criticism of how President Jair Bolsonaro’s government has handled the epidemic and a vaccination response.

So far, three percent of the population of 212 million have received one of two required vaccine doses.

The month-old campaign with China’s CoronaVac and the AstraZeneca shot, has had to be stopped in several cities and towns, however, due to a shortage of doses — including in Rio de Janeiro.

Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello said this week that the country would have 230 million doses by the end of July. But this depends on the delivery of doses from abroad, as well as shipment of component parts for fabrication in Brazil.

The government’s plan also depends on 10 million doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine and 20 million of India’s Covaxin. Brazil has not yet finalized contracts with these two countries.

As Brazil battles a second infection wave, it also has to deal with a new virus variant, thought to be more contagious, rapidly spreading around the country.