Brazil is experiencing an outbreak in cases with the Omicron, as President Jair Bolsonaro continues to downplay the effects of the said variant in the country.

On Thursday, Joh Hopkins University revealed that the country's COVID cases amounted to 97,945, which nearly doubled last week's recorded cases of 63,292, Al Jazeera reported.

Despite the number released, experts on Thursday said that the country's COVID cases could be much higher than the recorded data, contending the shortage of tests in the country, as well as the unreliable systems for reporting and the public disclosure data, can play a role in downplaying the data.

In an interview of César Eduardo Fernandes, the head of Brazilian Medical Association (AMB), with Reuters, the COVID cases in Brazil greatly affects the status of their healthcare facilities.

"The situation is worrying and it is possible some services will collapse," Fernandes said, adding that staff absences among the hospitals had already tripled in four weeks since the Omicron wave hit the country.

Fernandes also contended that the various is rampant in the country, claiming that if an individual does not know anyone who's got the virus, it means that that individual has "no friends."

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Brazil's Economy Amid Omicron Wave

Some sectors of Brazil's economy were also affected by the Omicron waver that hit the country.

According to reports, Brazil's National Association of Restaurants claims that 85 percent of their members are suffering from staff absences. This resulted in about 20 percent of their total workforce out.

Different airlines such as Airlines Azul SA and Latam Airlines Group canceled their flights as they were also plagued with staff absences.

Meanwhile, tourism is also affected in Brazil, as several cities canceled their celebrations due to the surging cases of coronavirus. Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo are among the cities that canceled their famous street parties.

In response to the ongoing dilemma in the economic sector, Brazil's Ministry of Health reduced the quarantine period for asymptomatic patients from 10 days to seven days.

Brazil's public health officials also hope that the country's vaccination campaign will help alleviate the positive cases in the South American nation. To date, the country recorded at least 67 percent fully vaccinated against coronavirus.

Brazil President on Omicron

The surge in Omicron cases came after President Jair Bolsonaro continued to downplay the effects of the Omicron variant in Brazil.

On Wednesday, the Brazilian president noted that the Omicron variant "has not killed anyone in their state. The president then mentioned a case in the city of Goias, saying that the man died due to his underlying health problem in the lungs which is already existent, and that the virus did not kill the individual.

Jair Bolsanoro also called the Omicron variant a "vaccinating virus."

"Some even say it is [Omicron] a vaccinating virus. Some smart people and serious people, not aligned to the pharmaceutical industry, say Omicron is welcome and could herald the end [of] the pandemic," Bolsonaro underscored.

Instead of enforcing lockdowns and vaccinations, the president of Brazil promoted herd immunity contending that the said phenomenon is a "reality" and an immunized person "has a lot more antibodies than a vaccinated person.

Bolsonaro's comment came as the deaths in Brazil amounted to 160 a day, a number lower than the previous surges in Latin America of 3,000 per day. All in all, more than 620,000 people died in Brazil due to COVID-19.

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This article is owned by Latin Post.

Written By: Joshua Summers

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