Stamford Advocate

Brazil tops 600,000 deaths amid delta


Bars in Brazil’s biggest metropolis, Sao Paulo, are full again for Friday happy hours and lawmakers in the capital have nearly done away with video sessions via Zoom. Rio de Janeiro’s beaches are packed and calls for strict social distancing seem but a memory.

These developmen­ts are part of Brazil’s bid to return to pre-pandemic normalcy, even as its death toll tops 600,000, according to official data on Friday from the health ministry. Relief in both COVID-19 cases and deaths have been particular­ly welcome given experts’ warnings that the delta variant would produce another wave of destructio­n in the country with the second-most victims. So far, that hasn’t materializ­ed.

The country’s average daily death toll has hovered around 500 for a month, down sharply from more than 3,000 in April. Almost 45 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, and a booster shot is being administer­ed to the elderly. A greater percentage of Brazilians are at least partially vaccinated compared to Americans or Germans, according to Our World in Data, an online research site.

Improvemen­t has encouraged mayors and governors to admit fans into soccer matches, and let bars and restaurant­s stay open until the wee hours. Some are even contemplat­ing the end of mask mandates, which people often ignore already. And Rio’s mayor has announced plans to bring back the city’s massive New Year’s Eve party on Copacabana beach.

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