Frontline heatlh workers in Brazil are at serious risk of contracting COVID-19 as they carry out essential work, said the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Monday.
"These professionals are not only saving lives, they are also ensuring essential services continue for everyone, whether it be health care, social services or education. They deserve our full support and solidarity," said Simone Casabianca-Aeschlimann, the ICRC's head of delegation for Brazil and the Southern Cone countries. The organization announced a campaign Monday to support essential workers in Brazil.
At least 232,992 health professionals have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and 196 of those have officially died of it, according to an August 6 bulletin from the Brazilian health ministry.
"The minister highlights the commitment, dedication and altruism of health professionals who are at the forefront of the fight against Covid-19," said the Brazilian health ministry in a press release Saturday.
The numbers, however, could be much higher. Brazil's Federal Council of Nursing recorded 325 COVID-19 deaths within the nursing profession alone.
"Each number hides the face of a mother, a father, children, dear friends, colleagues who faced shifts together and fear for their lives and their families," wrote the council in an August 7 response to the health ministry.
Brazil has recorded more than 3 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and over 100,000 deaths from the disease so far, according to Johns Hopkins University. Brazil has the second-highest number of cases and deaths in the world, behind only the United States.