Brazil reported nearly 35,000 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday the same day a top government official declared the outbreak there was under control.
The 34,918 total for Tuesday is the highest daily number reported so far in the South American country. Brazil, the world’s No. 2 coronavirus hotspot after the United States, is fast approaching 1 million cases. Experts say the true number is likely higher due to patchy testing. Brazil also registered 1,282 COVID-19 deaths since its last update on Monday, the Health Ministry said, bringing confirmed fatalities in the country to 45,241.
Brazil trails only the United States for the most cases overall. As of Tuesday, more than 2 million Americans have been infected by the virus, and more than 116, 125 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Walter Braga Netto, the head of the office of the president’s chief of staff, and a top official overseeing the government’s response to the outbreak said on Tuesday, “There is a crisis, we sympathize with bereaved families, but it is managed.”
But Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director Carissa Etienne says there is no sign the spread of COVID-19 in Brazil is slowing down.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has dismissed the virus as just a “little flu,” has urged businesses to reopen and ordered state governors to loosen lockdown restrictions.
Doctors at Britain’s Imperial College London say they will start testing a coronavirus vaccine this week.
Three hundred healthy people will be given shots. The vaccine uses synthetic parts of a genetic code based on the coronavirus. The body’s own cells will then make copies of a protein that scientists hope will trigger an immune response.
French President Emmanuel Macron Tuesday toured a Sanofi laboratory – the company that caused an uproar in France last month after it said it would put the United States first in line for its COVID-19 vaccine because of the money the U.S. invested in vaccine research.
Sanofi later backed down from that statement and promised to make the vaccine available to everyone when it’s ready.
Macron announced the government would invest 200 million euros, or more than $225 million, to help French laboratories develop a vaccine so France is less dependent on foreign companies for vaccines and other medicines.
Macron said coronavirus vaccines should be thought of as a “common good” for humanity and not dependent on who can pay.
Meanwhile, France is about to reopen the one symbol that says “This is Paris” above all others – the Eiffel Tower.
Tickets to the tower go on sale Thursday and officials expect to reopen to tourists next week.
The tower has been closed to visitors since March, but the top of the tower will still be off-limits for now. The elevators will remain out of service and visitors will be allowed to climb the stairs only as high as the second floor.
The director of the tower says he hopes the entire structure can be reopened by August.