HAVANA TIMES – Brazil passed the 1-million mark in its recorded coronavirus infections on Friday, reported dpa news.
Brasilia registered 54,771 new cases on Friday, according to its health ministry. Almost 49,000 patients have died from Covid-19 so far.
The grim milestone puts the Latin American nation behind only the United States when it comes to global numbers of deaths and infections.
The true figures for how widespread the virus is in Brazil, a country with a population of 210 million, are likely to be much higher due to low levels of testing.
Brazil is testing “at best 20 times less than what is considered appropriate,” biological scientist Daniel Lahr from the University of Sao Paulo told news outlet G1.
Scientific studies and estimates from organizations point to at least seven times as many people being infected compared to officially reported numbers, and twice as many having died.
The first suspected case was registered in Brazil on February 25 in a businessman who had returned from Italy.
The virus has since spread across the country, hitting hotspots in big cities such as Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.
President Jair Bolsonaro has downplayed Covid-19, calling it at the beginning of the pandemic a “little flu” and resisting taking measures to stem its spread.
Governors and mayors put in place their own social restrictions, but many of these have already been relaxed.