Due to the health crisis and the saturation of cemeteries, the authorities of the city of Manaus, in the state of Amazonas (border with Venezuela), were forced to build mass graves, or “trenches,” in the Nuestra Señora Aparecida cemetery. The mayor of Manaus, Arthur Virgílio Neto, told the media that to date the city registers around a hundred burials per day, whereas before the pandemic the average was 30. The official added that the specialized hospital, Delphina Aziz, no longer has enough beds to care for all those infected with coronavirus.
In an official statement, the Mayor’s Office reported that the proper distance is being kept between the coffins and that each grave has its identification. In addition, access to the cemetery is limited to five people per family. “The measure seeks to preserve the privacy of bereaved families and also considers the risk of the spread of the new coronavirus,” the statement said .
The sociologist and professor at the Department of Social Sciences of the Federal University of Amazonas, Marcelo Seraphic, told Sputnik that the dramatic situation in Manaus shows everyone “the tragic effects of the coronavirus on the population, and particularly among the poorest.”
The specialist explained that the spread of infection in Manaus is directly linked to the social situation that most of the residents of the town are experiencing, in addition to unemployment and the precariousness of public services.
According to Seraphic, the high population density in some neighborhoods and the lack of intensive care beds – there are only around 370 ICUs in Manaus – for the most seriously ill patients are “favorable” conditions for the spread of COVID-19. Likewise, there is “difficulty in creating a system to produce information and monitor the evolution of the disease in the midst of this collapse” and there are also no human and material resources “necessary to avoid the worst.”
Brazil is the country in Latin America most affected by the coronavirus, with some 50,000 infected and a minimum of 3,331 fatalities. The mortality rate is 6.4%, according to data from the Brazilian Ministry of Health. Some experts have expressed concerns on the quality and accuracy of these figures.
Translated by JRE/EF