According to the daily report by the Health Ministry released Wednesday (May 20), the number of confirmed cases in 24 hours set a new record, 19,951. Of the total, 291,579 people are infected. The result is up 7.3 percent from Tuesday (19), when the number of infected people was 271,628.
Brazil had 888 deaths registered between Tuesday and Wednesday, adding up to 18,859, up 4.9 percent from Tuesday, when 17,971 had died from COVID-19. The number of new deaths was lower than Tuesday’s 1,179.
Of all confirmed cases, 156,037 (53.5%) are being monitored and 115,683 (40%) have recovered. There are 3,483 deaths under investigation.
São Paulo is still the epicenter of the disease in the country, with the highest number of deaths (5,363). The state is followed by Rio de Janeiro (3,237), Ceará (1,900), Pernambuco (1,834), and Amazonas (1,561).
Obits have also been registered in Pará (1,633), Maranhão (634), Bahia (362), Espírito Santo (341), Alagoas (251), Paraíba (230), Minas Gerais (177), Rio Grande do Norte (170), Rio Grande do Sul (161), Amapá (142), Paraná (137), Santa Catarina (94), Rondônia (90), Piauí (87), Goiás (78), Acre (76), the Federal District (77), Sergipe (69), Roraima (64), Tocantins (42), Mato Grosso (32), and Mato Grosso do Sul (17).
During a press conference at the Planalto presidential palace, representatives from the Health Ministry unveiled the new document with guidelines for the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of COVID-19, released Wednesday.
Mayra Ribeiro, the ministry’s secretary for Work Management, said the document presented brings a “guideline based on a definition from the Federal Council of Medicine stipulating that doctors are to be given free will.”
“Today we advise that prescriptions may be made and we offer this drug. What the Health Ministry is recommending is not self-prescription, but the everybody’s right to have access to a medication after in-person assessment,” said Ribeiro, noting that the drug will start being offered by public hospitals.
The Health Ministry staff announced that 6,152 ICU beds have been enabled for exclusive use by COVID-19 patients during the pandemic. The enabling process is a procedure whereby the agency recognizes a bed as belonging to a state or municipality and takes up its costs. The daily amount needed to pay such expenditures was doubled, going from R$ 800 to R$ 1.6 thousand.