Brazil records nearly 50,000 coronavirus deaths as crisis deepens

By Gabriel Stargardter
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Nearly 50,000 people have died from the effects of the corona virus in Brazil, the world's second largest hotspot. There have been 1,022 deaths in the last 24 hours, the health ministry said on Saturday.
According to the ministry, a total of 49,976 people in Brazil officially died from COVID-19. A total of 1,067,579 cases were confirmed. Only the United States has registered more deaths and cases.
Brazil confirmed its first case of the novel corona virus on February 26 and had 1 million cases on Friday. Experts say the real numbers are likely to be much higher since no extensive testing has been done.
Since its first arrival in a continent-sized country, the virus has spread relentlessly, undermining support for right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro and, after years of anemic growth, raised fears of an economic collapse.
Bolsonaro, sometimes called "Tropical Trump", has been widely criticized for dealing with the crisis. The country still has no permanent health minister after two defeats since April after clashes with the president.
Bolsonaro has avoided social distancing and calls it a job-loss measure that is more dangerous than the virus itself. He has also promoted two antimalarials as a cure, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, although there is little evidence that they work.
Brazil is not the only country in Latin America that has been hit hard by the outbreak. On Saturday, the region had 2 million cases, of which 2,004,019 were registered according to a Reuters balance.
(Reporting by Gabriel Stargardter; editing by Sandra Maler)
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