May 21, 2020 - World

Confirmed coronavirus deaths in Brazil's largest city spike by over 400%

In this image, four men in hazmat suits carry a coffin
Men carry the coffin of someone who died from the coronavirus at the Vila Formosa cemetery, in the outskirts of São Paulo, Brazil, on May 20. Photo: Nelson Almeida/AFPvia Getty Images

Coronavirus deaths in São Paulo, the largest city in Brazil and the Western Hemisphere, have increased by over 485% since the city's health department began keeping track in April.

The big picture: Prolonged lapses in testing and tracking, documented by the Washington Post in April, have led to severely undercounted death tolls in Brazil. The country is reporting the third-most confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world, per Johns Hopkins data — only behind Russia and the U.S.

  • Over 65,000 of the country's confirmed cases are in São Paulo, per Johns Hopkins — an infection rate that overshadows all other cities in the country.

What's happening: 90% of ICU beds in São Paulo are occupied and "suspected deaths from COVID-19 have surged more than fivefold in the past month," the Washington Post reports. Meanwhile, fewer people are currently following the city's stay-at-home order.

  • Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro last week challenged state governors who vowed to defy his push to reopen businesses across the country.
  • São Paulo plans to build 700 more ICU beds and work with private hospitals to take in patients, the Post reports.

Go deeper: Bolsonaro has Brazil headed for worst recession ever

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