Covid-19 Is Killing Nurses in Brazil More Than Anywhere Else

(Bloomberg) -- The coronavirus is killing Brazilian nurses faster than anywhere else in the world as the pandemic spreads in the Latin American nation.

The country’s Federal Nursing Council says there are more than 15,000 nurses infected with Covid-19, which according to the council represents almost 40% of the global case toll. As of Wednesday, 137 nurses had died. Walquirio Almeida, a spokesman for the body known as Cofen, links the high number of deaths to the lack of equipment and preparation of medical teams.

“The numbers are very worrying, we did not expect this many,” Almeida said in an interview. “The situation will only improve if authorities take effective measures, and quick.”

The nation of 210 million people has become a hotspot for the coronavirus pandemic, trailing only Russia and the U.S. in number of cases. Infections have been setting records almost daily, and reached 291,579 as of Wednesday, according to government data. Latin America’s largest economy had its own set of issues fighting the global outbreak, including a public health system that was already on the verge of collapse in several states, contradicting measures from local governments and a large share of the population which can’t afford to stay home. Equipment acquired by the federal government has been slow to trickle down to states, and governors had trouble getting medical supplies as global demand surged.

About half of the deaths among Brazilian nurses have been recorded in the states of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, two of the hardest-hit by the disease which has killed more than 18,800 people in the country. Most of the nurses who died were between 41 and 50 years old, the data show.

The International Council of Nurses said earlier this month than more than 260 nurses in 30 countries had died and at least 90,000 healthcare workers infected by Covid-19.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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