You can hear the frustration in the nurse’s voice as he narrates the video, walking closer to an open window.
“You have to be an engineer to make this work,” he says. “You have to be like MacGyver.”
The video moves past a woman on oxygen, the tube running down from her nose to the gurney she’s sitting on, and, eventually, out that open window.
It runs to another window, the green tube swinging in the breeze above an open courtyard a half-dozen stories below. The tube ends at an oxygen hookup in the wall of the other room.
This is the only way that woman, a Covid-19 patient at this hospital in the Brazilian capital of Brasilia, can get oxygen. The room where the oxygen source is located is so overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients. She has to sit in what is otherwise a hallway, her life-saving oxygen precariously fed to her.
The scene is a microcosm of what is playing out across Brazil right now amid a brutal and out-of-control wave of Covid-19.
On Thursday night, Brazil’s Health Ministry reported the gruesome figure of more than 100,000 new Covid-19 cases confirmed in a single day, the country’s highest such figure since the pandemic began.
According to official data, a total of 303,462 people have died in the country from the virus.
But it’s the seven-day averages that paint an even bleaker picture.
Of Brazil’s 26 states plus its federal district, only one or two on any given day have ICU occupancy rates below 80%.
More than half are above 90%, which means if the healthcare systems haven’t yet collapsed already in those states, they are at imminent risk of doing so.
Health systems have been inundated with patients they can no longer adequately take care of due to a critical lack of space and supplies.
As Brazil suffers through its worst days of this pandemic so far, there are signs of collapse at every level of the healthcare system in nearly every state across the country.
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