1 min read.Updated: 06 Jun 2020, 12:09 AM ISTLisandra Paraguassu,Ricardo Brito, Reuters
Brazil's Health Ministry reported late on Thursday that confirmed cases in the country had climbed past 600,000, with 1,437 deaths registered within 24 hours
With its official death toll now above 34,000, the pandemic has taken more lives in Brazil than anywhere except the US and UK
Brazil reeled on Friday at a record daily number of COVID-19 deaths, pushing the toll past Italy's ahead of planned protests over the weekend against the government of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.
In an editorial running the length of Folha de S.Paulo's front page, the widely circulated daily said just 100 days had passed since Bolsonaro described the virus now "killing a Brazilian per minute" as "a little flu."
"While you were reading this, another Brazilian died from the coronavirus," the newspaper said.
Brazil's Health Ministry reported late on Thursday that confirmed cases in the country had climbed past 600,000, with 1,437 deaths registered within 24 hours.
With its official death toll now above 34,000, the pandemic has taken more lives in Brazil than anywhere except the United States and United Kingdom.
Bolsonaro's efforts to minimize the public health risks and lift state quarantines have emboldened critics, some of whom have accused him of using the crisis to undermine democratic institutions.
But many of those same critics are divided about the safety and effectiveness of anti-government demonstrations in the middle of a pandemic, especially after one small protest was met with an overwhelming show of police force last weekend.
Bolsonaro's supporters have held near-weekly rallies urging the military to shut down Congress and the Supreme Court for opposing his agenda. But the former army captain has asked them to stay off the streets this weekend to let police focus on opposition protests.
On Friday, Bolsonaro called opposition protesters "terrorists" and encouraged public security forces to act swiftly "if by any chance those delinquents go beyond the limits of the law."
Representatives of the National Guard and the Federal District met on Friday to discuss security in Brasilia ahead of the weekend protests. A person familiar with the matter said it had not yet been decided whether federal forces would be deployed in the country's capital.