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The part Kenny show on news talk with Marter private network during current restrictions. Don't ignore your health concerns. Our expert team is ready to help. We've lost the war. It's as if an atomic bomb has landed on Brazil. Well, that's what one Brazilian politician had to say about covid-19 after a staggering 30000 covid related deaths in the month. Just past political negligence, minimal restrictions and a new variant have left the country's hospitals overrun and ICU beds are quickly becoming scarce.
BBC South America correspondent Katie Watson joins me from Sao Paulo to tell us more. Casey, good morning and welcome.
Good morning, Kiran. Now, we know that scenario, you know, was afflicted by a covid-19 himself, but he appeared like Donald Trump with or without medication to shake it off fairly quickly. And if he wasn't a sceptic before about its damaging consequences, it left him a sceptic then.
Absolutely. I mean, he's stuck with the same line from the very beginning that this is nothing to be overly concerned about. This happens and Brazil cannot shut down. Brazilians need to carry on working. And in fact, we've seen in the last two days have been record daily numbers of people dying. And he's stuck with that message. He was yesterday out talking to his supporters, saying that the press had caused panic and that people can't stay at home, that they would die of hunger, they would die of depression.
But that flies in the face of other people in Brazil. And it's really down to the state governors who are who are imposing their their regulations. So yesterday, the governor of Sao Paolo, for example, Joel Doria, who is a political rival of Bosna, he introduced quite tough lockdown measures that will come into place this Saturday here in Sao Paolo. So only essential businesses can remain open. And he was really, really angry about the attitude of Gibus now is saying this is nothing to do with the press, that the people who are dying, people who are being buried, are being buried because of you.
So it's become political, it's become personal. And, of course, it's become deeply worrying with the numbers rising.
Now, BOŞTINARU takes from the Trump playbook, doesn't he, in terms of rubbishing and deriding people who do not go along with his line.
So he's nicknamed the Trump the Trump of the tropics. He has made very clear in the past that Donald Trump was an inspiration of his, of course, now that Donald Trump is no longer in power. You question what that means for Jabel Snow. But certainly, I mean, he has his supporters. There are. And the issue of the health care of the economy play is particularly difficult here in Brazil because there are millions of people who live hand-to-mouth who need to go out and work every single day.
That's true. But it's a question of how you protect those people and make sure that they can they stay healthy even with the situation we're in. So he actually saw his support go up because of a generous government handouts that was in place for four months and it got dropped and then it's been reintroduced. And that has certainly swayed people and has encouraged people to turn to support him through the difficult months. But I mean, with with with what's been happening in the last few weeks.
I mean, last night there were people going out on the streets banging their pots and pans known as a Pannella. So people very angry out with the scenario. So it's a real divide here in Brazil, but certainly a lot of anger with the way he is not dealing with handling the pandemic.
I remember earlier in the pandemic, we were seeing pictures of mass graveyards, literally the fresh graves on fresh fields and the bodies lined up or the spaces awaiting the bodies and families not being able to grieve properly at the graveside time, limited at the grave site and so on.
Are we getting accurate numbers now? Because I'm not seeing those pictures anymore numbers from Brazil, because I also recall, as you will have reported on the guy who tried to explain how much of the rainforest was being destroyed by Bulsara policies was fired for his pains, for literally telling the truth about that despoiling of the rainforests.
Well, the graves, the mass graves that you're referring to are probably the most likely up in Manaus, which is the biggest city in the Amazon. And that was the first city to collapse last year under pressure from covid-19. And it's collapsed again. I was there just a month ago. They're no longer doing mass graves because they have found a way around it, but they're doing vertical graves. So no longer that they're building systems that they can still put people put the graves together quickly because there's still a big problem, in fact, is bigger than it was last time.
So the urgency is still there. The numbers are tricky because it was last year the government stopped. Publishing numbers for a few days, so the media consortium came together and they publish rival figures, I mean, they're both bad. So it might differ 50 to 100 some days, but they're still breaking records. So it's a question of whether you go with the agglomeration of all of the media numbers or you go with the government numbers, which are still now.
They are now being updated. They're being updated by state health secretary. So you still get an idea. But certainly, yes. I mean, Jabel Snow has gone through to health ministers who disagreed with the way he handled the pandemic. Certainly many people don't see eye to eye with how he is dealing with it. And that has caused consternation. It's caused setbacks.
And we've seen in the rollout of the vaccines, as well as a country that used to be so good at its vaccination programmes, it has a health system that people have respected across the world, a universal health system that now has struggled to be able to roll out vaccines as fast as people would like. Only about three percent of the population have received their first dose of the vaccine. And that, of course, is causing concern because with this new variant, one that was originally found in Manassas and the slow rollout of the vaccines, it leaves Brazil and Brazilians very vulnerable.
Now, it was thought that such was the scale of the outbreak in Manaus earlier on, that there would have been herd immunity in Manaus. And then, of course, this one variant emerges in Manaus.
Not probably enough is known about how infectious disease, how many people who had the original coronavirus have been reinfected. Can you shed any light on that?
So when I was there, yeah, that was exactly the concern. Doctors were saying that they knew very little about the variant, but they could see that younger people were coming in. The beds were filling up much quicker. People were being intubated much more quickly, people who didn't have necessarily underlying illnesses. And it was something that was scaring the medical professionals. And that was back in January. And now what we're hearing is that the P1 variant does it does enable reinfection, but it's still very much a work in progress.
And I think that's the concern is at the moment, it's being it's being sequenced, is being looked at, but there's still a lot of unknowns. And at the same time, Brazil is just trying to deal with the outbreak, you know, the physical numbers of people coming in. The governor of Sao Paolo, Doria, said that people were being admitted, you know, in Sao Paolo once that one person every two minutes into the intensive care unit.
So the numbers that they're just trying to bring down at the same time to work out what is behind it. You know, there's the barrier, but there's also the fact that there's no there's never been a lockdown in the sense we've seen in other parts of the world where you can't see anybody or you can see one person. And those kind of restrictions within households, it's been stay at home and we're going to close schools, parks, businesses. But that's left it very open to people to interpret to exactly what that what that means in terms of mixing.
And we heard earlier about people who are getting oxygen cylinders refilled, can't go to hospital. There's no room for them in the hospital. So they're kind of operating a DIY intensive care at home.
So that's what I was seeing in man hours, and it was awful, there were families who were queuing up for oxygen. One woman I met who only had one oxygen cylinder, so she was her mother was being left at home with no oxygen while she had to go and refill. And unfortunately, a few days later, her mother passed away. So these were terrible, terrible stories. In fact, the health minister is under investigation for being accused of knowing the situation, but doing very little or doing too little, too late.
But across that was what we're seeing. That's different here with I now call it the second way. But a lot of people would say that Brazil never really came out. The first wave, there was a bit of a plateau, a bit of a debt for the numbers still remain pretty high, have remained throughout.
But even it's now happening across the country at the same time. So it's not where there's been a peak in one place because Brazil so huge. And that's what we saw earlier on in the pandemic that Manaus in the Amazon, which is about four hours flight from where I am in Sao Paulo, that collapsed. But perhaps Sao Paulo, which is very, very well equipped in terms of hospitals, didn't run out of beds. But now we're seeing in the south, in the north, there are beds.
People are running out of beds, and even some patients are being transferred to different states so that they can access treatment.
All I can say to you is stay safe. And thank you very much for joining us on the programme. Katie Watson, the BBC's South America correspondent with.