As he narrates the video while getting closer to an open window, you can hear the nurse’s annoyance.
“You have to be an engineer to make this work,” he says. “You have to be like MacGyver.”
The camera pans past a woman wearing an oxygen mask, the tube running from her nose to the gurney she’s on and then out the open doors.
It continues to another window, the green tube swaying in the breeze over a half-dozen floors below. The tube connects to an oxygen hookup in the other room’s wall.
This is the only way for a woman, a Covid-19 patient at this hospital in Brasilia, Brazil’s capital, to get oxygen. Since the space where the oxygen source is located is so packed with Covid-19 patients, she is forced to sit in what would otherwise be a corridor, her life-saving oxygen being fed to her on a precarious basis.
The scene is a microcosm of what is currently taking place across Brazil as a violent and out-of-control wave of Covid-19 sweeps the region.
Brazil’s Health Ministry revealed on Thursday night that more than 100,000 new Covid-19 cases had been confirmed in a single day, the country’s highest number since the pandemic started.
According to official statistics, the virus has killed a total of 303,462 people in the world.
The seven-day averages, on the other hand, paint an even more grim picture.
These are the highest such numbers of the pandemic so far, with 15,963 deaths from March 19-25 and 14,610 deaths the previous week, and they are trending in the wrong direction. According to JHU reports, Brazil has accounted for roughly 24% of all coronavirus deaths worldwide in the last two weeks.
P1, a Covid-19 version, is now sweeping the world, with experts agreeing that it is more infectious and could cause more serious illness than previous strains. Even the young are not immune.
Just one or two of Brazil’s 26 states plus the federal district have ICU occupancy rates below 80% on any given day.
More than half have a rate of over 90%, indicating that if their healthcare systems haven’t already failed, they are on the verge of doing so. Owing to a serious shortage of room and supplies, health systems have become inundated with patients they can no longer properly care for.
This latest surge has taken first responders, ambulance staff, and even cemetery workers to their knees, according to CNN.
“It’s a war scenario,” said paramedic Luis Eduardo Pimentel in São Paulo. “I can barely describe what I’m seeing, it is so sad what is happening to the country.”
He mentioned nonstop Covid-19 calls, avoidable deaths, and hospitals that are so overburdened that they scrounge supplies from wherever they can. CNN talked with him after his shift ended earlier than scheduled, after a hospital took the gurney he had used to transport his Covid-19 patient in because they were out of beds.
12 ambulances with patients inside are seen waiting outside a So Paulo hospital for bedspace to open up in a video given to CNN last week. On Thursday, CNN visited a Covid-19-designated hospital that had stopped accepting patients due to a lack of space. Nearly twice the number of patients were treated in a section that was usually reserved for 16 semi-intensive care patients.
Several had already been intubated and would have been moved to an ICU if there had been space in the hospital, but there was none.
ICUs are essentially complete when rates reach 90%, as they did in Sao Paulo on Thursday, according to Geraldo Reple Sobrinho, the state’s President of the Council of Municipal Health Secretaries. “In fact, this means complete bed occupancy because you need time to clean the bed and change the equipment any time a patient is discharged or dies. It takes four to five hours to complete.”
Meanwhile, a growing number of patients are dying. There have been so many deaths in recent days that burials in So Paulo cemeteries are occurring every few minutes.