Brazil's Daily Coronavirus Cases More Than Double in a Day As Health Ministry Forced to Release Full Data

Novel coronavirus cases in Brazil have soared to nearly 740,500, with its daily case count surpassing 30,000 for the fourth time, as of Wednesday, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.

The South American nation on Tuesday saw its second-highest daily case count since the outbreak began, with 32,091 new infections reported on June 9. The latest daily case count was more than double the figure reported on June 8, which saw 15,654 new cases, Brazil's Ministry of Health confirmed.

The country's daily death toll also nearly doubled Tuesday, with 1,272 deaths, up from 679 reported on Monday. Brazil's 7-day rolling average of daily cases and daily deaths have both been on a mostly increasing trend since the beginning of the pandemic.

The latest figures were released after a ruling by Brazil's Supreme Court which ordered the country's full COVID-19 data, including cumulative totals of deaths and infections, to be republished on the website of the health ministry after it was abruptly removed last week. The data was restored on Tuesday.

Brazil's Supreme Justice Alexandre de Moraes said in a statement on the court's website that the health ministry must "fully re-establish the daily dissemination of epidemiological data on the COVID-19 pandemic, including on the agency's website."

Moraes said the government's action had made it "impossible" to monitor the spread of the virus and implement appropriate policies to combat the outbreak.

The country faced criticism last week after months of public COVID-19 data was wiped from the health ministry's website. The data was taken down on Friday and the website was reloaded Saturday with just a fraction of the data, which included deaths, cases and recoveries within the last 24 hours, Reuters reported.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said: "The cumulative data... does not reflect the moment the country is in," citing a note from the health ministry on his official Twitter account. "Other actions are underway to improve the reporting of cases and confirmation of diagnoses."

Brazil's Acting Minister of Health Eduardo Pazuello claimed there was never any intention of manipulating the country's virus figures, he said at a cabinet meeting broadcast on television.

Bolsonaro has repeatedly downplayed the severity of the outbreak, dismissing it as a "little flu." Last month, he told reporters that "the worst [of the outbreak] is over," a day before the country reported the highest daily death count in the Southern Hemisphere at the time.

Brazil lost two health ministers who left their positions after clashing with the Brazilian president over the country's COVID-19 response.

Last month, Bolsonaro demanded former health minister Nelson Teich issue federal guidelines for the early use of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug yet to be proven for its effectiveness in fighting the novel coronavirus.

São Paulo, Brazil, protest, coronavirus, June 202
Protesters wearing face masks in Largo da Batata during a protest amid the COVID-19 pandemic on June 7, 2020 in São Paulo, Brazil. Getty Images

Brazil has the second-highest number of confirmed cases in the world after the U.S., as of Wednesday. Lockdown measures in parts of the country were only introduced from May.

The health department of São Paulo, the country's most populous state, reported a record daily death toll of 334 on Tuesday, just as the state was starting to ease some social distancing measures and reopen its economy.

Bruno Covas Lopes, the mayor of São Paulo, the state capital, confirmed shops in the city may resume for four hours a day from Wednesday. Malls in the city could reopen from Thursday pending agreement on precautionary guidelines to protect customers, Reuters reported.

The novel coronavirus, which was first reported in Wuhan, China, has spread to over 7.2 million across the globe. Over 411,600 have died, while more than 3.3 million have reportedly recovered from infection, as of Wednesday, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.

The graphics below, provided by Statista, illustrate the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. and the worst-affected countries.

1 of 3