Brazil has reached another grim milestone.
On Thursday evening, the South American nation became the world’s second country to register more than 2 million cases of COVID-19.
The official data was released by the country’s health ministry: 2,012,151 confirmed cases and 76,688 coronavirus-related deaths. (According to a consortium of media outlets in partnership with state health departments, however, the numbers are a little higher: 2,015,382 cases and 76,846 deaths.)
In the last seven days, Brazil averaged 1,081 deaths per day, which represents a 6% increase compared to the previous week.
It took four months for the country to register 1 million cases of the new coronavirus, according to the Brazilian news site G1, but that number doubled in just 27 days.
Experts fear that the worst is far from over in the country of 210 million, where only a handful of states have shown a decrease in fatalities.
In the last seven days, seven states have reported fewer deaths, compared to the previous week. Ten states have shown little change, and nine states, plus the Federal District, are trending upwards.
Brazil has been widely criticized for its disastrous response to the COVID-19 crisis, as the country’s leader, Jair Bolsonaro, continues to downplay the devastating effects of the pandemic.
The 65-year-old far-right president, who tested positive for the disease earlier this month, has refused to acknowledge the severity of the crisis — which he has famously described as a “little flu” — and continues to aggressively push for the reopening of the country’s economy.
“The virus would have been difficult to stop anyway. But this milestone of 2 million cases, which is very underestimated, shows this could have been different,” Dr. Adriano Massuda, a health care administration specialist and professor in São Paulo, told The Associated Press.
“There’s no national strategy for testing, no measures from the top ... too little effort to improve basic care so we find serious cases before they become too serious, no tracking,” he added.
The news comes just days after the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned that the global crisis could still get “worse and worse and worse.”
On Friday, India became the third country to climb past 1 million infections, as the country’s health ministry recorded its deadliest day yet, with 687 deaths.
Since the first COVID-19 cases were reported in December 2019, the new coronavirus has infected more than 13.8 million worldwide, killing more than 590,000.