A haunting image of a body abandoned in the street in coronavirus-racked Rio shows how Brazil’s health system is struggling to cope

coronavirus death coffin grave cemetery brazil

Content warning: This article contains a disturbing image. Discretion is advised.
The body of Valnir Mendes da Silva, 62, who died after experiencing difficulty breathing, was abandoned on a sidewalk of a poor Rio de Janeiro neighborhood for 30 hours, according to relatives and neighbors.
In Rio de Janeiro state, which has the second-highest number of deaths in Brazil, most hospitals accepting COVID-19 patients have run out of intensive care beds.
South America has become a new epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic with Brazil hardest-hit.
President Jair Bolsonaro has consistently downplayed the pandemic, calling the coronavirus a “little flu” and fiercely criticizing state governors and mayors who introduce lockdowns.
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Valnir Mendes da Silva’s died after experiencing breathing problems amid the coronavirus outbreak in a slum district of Rio de Janerio. He collapsed on the sidewalk and later died.

His body lay there abandoned for 30 hours, residents told Reuters. Someone placed a sheet over his corpse, only his bare feet left uncovered, and arranged some traffic cones around the body, so passers-by did not trip the dead man lying in the street. On a dirt soccer pitch a few feet away, games continued.

Although the cause of Silva’s death is not confirmed, the 62-year-old is suspected to a victim of Brazil’s rapidly increasing death toll from the coronavirus, which currently stands at 21,000.

The true number of cases and deaths is likely higher than the figures suggest, as Latin America’s top economy has been slow to ramp up testing, according to Reuters.

When Silva complained that he could not breathe, the locals said they called an ambulance for him, but he died before it arrived. Neighbors believe he had died from the respiratory diseases caused by the coronavirus, but nobody was certain.

The paramedics declared the body dead but left it on the street as the city ambulance service is not responsible for removing corpses. The police also denied responsibility for it. They only remove corpses in criminal cases, Reuters was told.

Eventually, a funeral service contacted by a relative collected the body, after more than a day on the sidewalk.

The coronavirus entered Rio via wealthier residents returning from vacation in Europe, but it has since spread into the poorer neighborhoods and the outbreak is accelerating.

Brazil now has the third highest number of confirmed cases of the virus in the world, behind only the US and Russia, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Below is an image of Mendes da Silva’s body, which some people may find disturbing.
Discretion is advised:

President Jair Bolsonaro has been widely criticized for his handling of the outbreak and is at the center of a deepening political crisis. The president has consistently downplayed the threat dismissing the coronavirus as a “little flu.”

He has praised anti-lockdown protesters and touted unproven remedies, as the pandemic has overwhelmed Brazil’s coastal cities and traveled to its vast interior. Bolsonaro’s approach has been compared to Donald Trump’s political playbook.

Meanwhile, there are fears that Brazil’s health system …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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