(BBC) – The deaths in the South American nation of Brazil related to Covid-19 have passed 500,000, the second-highest in the world, as experts say the outbreak could worsen amid slow vaccination and the start of winter.
According to a BBC report, the virus continues to spread, as President Jair Bolsonaro refuses to back measures like social distancing.
Only 15% of adults are fully vaccinated, according to data from the health institute Fiocruz the situation is “critical”.
Congress is investigating the government’s handling of the pandemic.
Dr Natalia Pasternak Taschner, a microbiologist at the Question of Science Institute, told the BBC she saw little sign the rise in victims would slow.
“People in Brazil are weary, and they normalize death now, so I reckon we still have a long way to go,” she said.
President Bolsonaro has been heavily criticised for not implementing a co-ordinated national response and for his scepticism toward vaccines, lockdowns and mask-wearing requirements, which he has sought to loosen.
In rallies in Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia and elsewhere, furious Brazilians carried banners with slogans like “Bolsonaro must go” or simply “500,000”.
“His position on Covid and his denialism are absurd. He has abandoned reality and common sense. There is no explaining this, it is surreal,” Robert Almeida, a 50-year-old marching in Rio, told AFP.
Protester Denise Azevedo told Reuters: “Herd immunity won’t do any good. The only immunity you can get is with the vaccine. There is no early treatment. I have lost millions of friends, almost lost a cousin… people are orphans, fatherless, motherless, and childless.”
The president has said the impact of lockdowns on the economy would be worse than the virus, and insists he has done all he can to buy vaccines from several countries.