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Thursday, April 1, 2021

travails of Brazil ~ deaths and nos. affected by pandemic increasing very high

Long ago ! ~ was witnessing a Test match at Chepauk – in D stand a couple of persons were walking back to their places during a break carrying ‘Appy’ drink in their hands ~ a resourceful cheeky person got up and shouted ‘ Happy (showing them) and Unhappy (showing himself)’ – the crowd went bonkers and were repeating that shout for a few minutes with laughter !

Read in ‘Time’ magazine of Aug 2016 that this  picture of the fastest man on Earth happened by chance. Cameron Spencer, a Sydney-based photographer with Getty Images, was infield at the stadium in Rio on Aug. 14, shooting the men’s high-jump qualifiers, when he turned to photograph the 100-meter semifinal race that was about to happen.

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt was among the track stars looking to make the final that night. He won that 100-m twice before, at Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012. Spencer, who photographed both of those races, decided to try and get a shot. He positioned himself at the 70-m mark. A few other shooters were near him infield. Using a Canon 1D X Mark II, with a 70-200mm lens, he focused at 135mm and set it at a slow shutter speed (1/40th of a second) to try and capture the motion. The gun went off. The runners sprinted off the blocks. “I was carrying three remotes and my handheld camera,” Spencer tells TIME. “So when he was sprinting, I had four cameras firing,” Seconds later, Spencer says “the unexpected happened.”

Bolt is seen grinning but his opponents are a mix of blurry or game-faced, too focused on trying to beat him. “He was ahead enough that he kind of looked back. I think he was looking back at other athletes, gave a big smile and I managed to capture the shot with some motion,” Spencer tells TIME. “I was standing still but I was panning my lens with him as he passed, so my upper body was moving with him. Once he passed me—like he was gone—I looked at my pictures to see how it went and fortunately there were some sharp ones,” Spencer says. “I didn’t realize the extent of the smile when I shot it. And I was like, ‘Oh, wow, he’s in focus and moving and smiling.’ I sort of knew it was a special moment. His full stride, he’s smiling, he has that amazing perfect technique and he’s look across seven of the top fastest runners in the world and he’s enjoying himself,” he says. “For someone to look around and have a good time, it’s mind-blowing.”

That was  2016 Summer Olympics, officially  the Games of the XXXI Olympiad and commonly,  Rio 2016, in which more than 11,000 athletes from 205 National Olympic Committees, including first time entrants Kosovo, South Sudan, and the Refugee Olympic Team, took part. With 306 sets of medals, the games featured 28 Olympic sports, including rugby sevens and golf, which were added to the Olympic program in 2009. For the fourth time in five Games, the United States led the medal table both in number of gold medals   and in overall medals  won.  That made lot of people happy – hosts were happier and richer .. perhaps not now!

Rio de Janeiro's world-famous beaches have been closed to the public due to a dramatic rise in the number of daily coronavirus cases in Brazil, local media reported. Police officers took up positions in front of the beaches of Copacabana, Ipanema, and Barra da Tijuca on Saturday, dpa news agency quoted news portal G1 as saying in a report. Brazil  is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country by area and the sixth most populous. Its capital is Brasília, and its most populous city is São Paulo. The federation is composed of the union of the 26 states, the Federal District, and the 5,570 municipalities. It is the largest country to have Portuguese as an official language and the only one in the Americas.  Sadly, Brazil is the epicenter of the new SARS coronavirus in Latin America. Brazil was the first Latin American country with covid-19 cases on 26 February 2020. At that time, reports from China, Italy, and other Asian and European countries were already abundant and worrisome, and the Brazilian population expected a robust action plan.  

Brazil’s Butantan Institute has developed its own Covid-19 vaccine, which it plans to roll out in the coming months and offer to low income countries to help fight the pandemic.  Sao Paulo-based Butantan, which has partnered with China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. to produce the CoronaVac shot, will begin trials for its own vaccine -- dubbed the ButanVac -- with plans to have supplies ready by July, the institute’s director Dimas Covas said at a press conference on Friday. Butantan, Latin America’s biggest vaccine maker, has faced problems to import certain components to produce coronavirus shots and hopes to resolve hurdles by manufacturing everything locally. Tests could start in April pending regulatory approval, Sao Paulo Governor Joao Doria said at the press conference.

Brazil is in news for all wrong reasons !! Brazil became just the second country to cross the mark of 300,000 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic at a time when the disease is raging like wildfire across the vast Latin American country and overrunning hospitals. It took just two-and-a-half months for Brazil to go from 200,000 to 300,000 deaths compared with five months between 100,000 and 200,000 fatalities, in a sign of the speed at which Covid-19 and its P.1 variant is spreading. “Brazil’s current scenario is really critical,” said Amaury Fabbro, a doctor and professor at the University of Sao Paulo. “It’s not just a question of overall deaths, but of overcrowded hospitals and supply problems. There are shortages of oxygen and medical professionals.” But while the U.S. has already vaccinated 25% of its population with at least one dose, Brazil’s struggle to secure supplies and coordinate a nationwide campaign among the federal government and its 27 states, means just 6% have received a shot.

Worser things are to hit as Brazil on Thursday registered a record 100,158 new coronavirus cases within 24 hours, the Health Ministry said, underlining the scale of a snowballing outbreak that is becoming a major political crisis for President Jair Bolsonaro. The record caseload, along with 2,777 more COVID-19 deaths, comes a day after Brazil surpassed 300,000 fatalities from the pandemic, the world’s worst death toll after the United States.

Brazil’s outbreak has set weekly records due to a patchy vaccine rollout, a lack of national coordination and an infectious new variant. Critics, including senior lawmakers with ties to the president, are increasingly blaming Bolsonaro for his handling of the pandemic. He has drawn sharp criticism for his efforts to block lockdowns, scorn masks and sow doubts over vaccines. Bolsonaro also faces growing calls to replace Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo over failures in the country’s COVID-19 response. Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco said on Thursday that Brazil’s foreign policy must improve, adding that it was up to Bolsonaro to decide if he would replace Araujo. 

Sad to read about the travails of the country !  

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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