Jack Quann
Jack Quann

17.50 26 Mar 2021


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A public health expert in Brazil has said some hospitals are running out of basic supplies, including drugs to sedate patients, while the coronavirus situation is 'out of control'.

The country reported a milestone 3,000 COVID-19 related deaths in a single day this week - and 100,000 cases were diagnosed on Thursday alone.

Brazilian physician and specialist in epidemiology Marcio Sommer Bittencourt told The Hard Shoulder some areas are worse than others.

"Brazil is a large country so you have to take it in perspective, it's not exactly the same throughout the country.

"But we can say that from the central to the south of Brazil, but even spreading towards the north-east and parts of the north, there's a significant strain on the healthcare system.

"We are definitely overloaded, not being able to handle patients adequately well - most, if not all, hospitals are working with a surge capacity to absorb the excessive volume of patients".

Brazil Marcio Sommer Bittencourt. Picture via @MBittencourtMD on Twitter

'It is out of control'

He said some places "are struggling to have enough medication to sedate patients for intubation.

"And some places are having a constrain on oxygen delivery".

He said issues are also arising around beds, staff and equipment.

"It is out of control: all the hospitals are cancelling elective procedures, even urgent procedures, to absorb the capacity of several of the large hospitals in Sao Paulo in the south that are working with more than 50% of their load purely on COVID.

Brazil A 110-bed field hospital with patients being treated for coronavirus in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Picture by: Andre Lucas/DPA/PA Images

"Some of them even up to 70% or 80% just COVID care, and that puts constrain on the other chronic and acute health situations.

"I think that, to my understanding, is out of control".

He said he sees this as a 'collapse' of the country's health system.

"There's been a lot of discussion around can we call this a collapse, or is it not a collapse.

"And my understanding is that any time the healthcare system is unable to adequately absorb and take care of the patients, in a way that it impacts the patient's prognosis to some extent, we are at least to some level in some sort of collapse".

Main image: Medical staff work in a field hospital for coronavirus patients in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Picture by: Andre Lucas/DPA/PA Images

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