2 in coronavirus cases, behind the U.S.

Clay Curtis
May 23, 2020

Brazil is carrying the most painful of leaderships: it is the Latin American country with the highest number of infections, deaths and - fortunately - patients recovered from COVID-19.

More than 310,000 infections have been confirmed, the third-highest number worldwide after the U.S. and Russian Federation.

Experts say that insufficient testing may mean that the actual cases in Brazil are 1.5 times higher.

New infections in the previous 24 hours totaled 17,408, bringing the total to 271,628, the third-highest in the world after the USA and Russian Federation.

His attitude towards public health expert advice on Covid-19 has led two health ministers to resign from their posts in the past month.

The number of deaths in Brazil is doubling roughly every two weeks, compared to about every two months in the United Kingdom, four months in France, and five months in Italy.

At present, more than 250,000 cases have been diagnosed in Brazil.

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Sao Paulo Governor Joao Doria, who has clashed often with the president over containment measures, has said the country has to fight both coronavirus and "Bolsonarovirus". Officials in the city of 12 million have actually stated a five-day vacation in a proposal to obtain citizens to stay at home.

The authorities can not make people turn around and they have allowed some traffic to get through, our correspondent adds.

Media captionThe BBC's Katy Watson looks at how Bolsonaro has responded to the virus How is President Bolsonaro handling the crisis?

Bolsonaro, who has famously compared the virus to a "little flu", appears to have pinned his hopes on the anti-malaria drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to stop it.

Interim Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello will sign the new hydroxychloroquine guidelines on Wednesday. He has also attended anti-lockdown rallies, ignoring recommendations of his own health authorities for social distancing.

If the reports coming out of the country about the mass graves being dug or the bodies that remain for hours on the street were not already very telling of the degree of development that the pandemic has in Brazil, if we were to stick only to the numbers, everything we don't know about the level of contagion in the country would be obvious.

Premier Li Keqiang told the opening of the National People's Congress that, given the "great uncertainty" caused by the pandemic, Beijing will not set a growth target but "give priority to stabilising employment and ensuring living standards". If we're at war, we all face defeat.

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