Amid the developing coronavirus crisis, international focus is starting to turn to South America and when you look at the figures currently coming out of Brazil in particular, it is easy to see why. The daily number of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country reached a new peak yesterday at 13 thousand. Combined with the 11.9 thousand recorded the day before, this marks a significant escalation.
As noted by Domingo Alves from the University of Säo Paulo Medical School, this is only part of the true picture, too. He is one of the authors of a study which estimates the true figure to be 15 times higher than official figures suggest. Speaking to the AFP news agency Alves explained: "Brazil is only testing people who end up in the hospital...it's hard to know what's really happening based on the available data," adding: "We don't have a real policy to manage the outbreak."
And it's that final point that is proving so devastatingly critical for the country. As the pandemic "passes through as it pleases", President Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly refused to take the pandemic seriously or shoulder any responsibility for the situation engulfing his country.
At the time of writing, Brazil has confirmed a total of 203 thousand COVID-19 cases - the sixth highest globally - and registered the fifth largest number of deaths at 14 thousand.