A bishop in northern Brazil has spoken about the Church’s struggle tackling a fatal oxygen shortage – which has led to more than 50 additional deaths among Amazonas State’s coronavirus patients over the last week.
With Brazil’s COVID-19 deaths exceeding 225,000, the Church has provided logistical and other support in the state, where rivers are the main means of transportation between towns, as there have been problems getting essential supplies such as oxygen to hospitals.
Archbishop Leonardo Steiner of Manaus told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN): “The biggest difficulty is the sheer distances and the problem of access to the hospitals that are equipped for helping the most severely ill.
“Today we were able to send oxygen to a number of towns – this was an enormous help.
“Now we are trying to locate mini production plants for the supply of oxygen, which would resolve a number of problems.”
In Amazonas State’s capital Manaus, difficulties obtaining oxygen have reportedly led to people exhausting life savings or taking out loans to ensure relatives in hospital can receive the precious gas.
ACN was told that in some cases families have paid more than £750 to provide loved ones with an extra three hours of oxygen – which is more than four months’ income for the average household in the region. Read more …