Brazil: Collapse in Manaus due to COVID-19 forces to distribute death certificates door to door

More than a thousand people have been buried in the last week in Manaos, the city of the Amazon in Brazil collapsed by the pandemic, where the dead begin to grow in homes, while families line up to get a certificate that allows them to be buried.

To help cope with the situation, a team of obituary and pathology technicians visit every day in any part of the city the homes where deaths have been registered due to symptoms of COVID-19 to expedite the death certificate.

On the eve, Manaos recorded a record 213 burials -eight per hour- of which 102 died due to COVID-19, a virus that has overwhelmed hospitals, patients dying from lack of oxygen and health professionals dedicated body and soul to saving lives.

The absence in hospitals has forced the sick to remain at home, where the lack of specialized treatment hastens their death. From Friday afternoon until this Saturday, families with patients at home stood in line, in front of a private oxygen supply company, waiting for the product.

The situation has triggered deaths in homes in Manaus and just this week, the number of deaths due to suspicion of COVID-19 in their homes it increased by 130%.

This week there was a very large increase in deaths in homes. What was done in a whole month, now is done in a week, “Arlindo França, director of the Center for the Issuance of Death Certificates (Cedo, for its acronym in Portuguese) of the Municipal Health Secretariat, assured EFE.

Although deaths are registered throughout the city, a good part of the cases occur within families with limited resources, who live in precarious conditions and who only have the public health system, which they cannot access due to the crisis.

The situation is complicated at nights where, according to França, the highest number of deaths occurs, especially in the early hours of the morning. The eve, In a period of 10 hours, 23 families were served by the team, that with the issuance of the document they were able to bury their dead.

During the service, the technicians, wearing masks and maintaining the required distances to prevent contagion, corroborated with the families the data of the victims and the symptoms they registered before dying.

They also verified that the bodies had no vital signs and took the samples for tests that will later confirm whether or not they died from the COVID-19. At the end of the tests,s technicians delivered the death certificate and the dead remained in the houses waiting to be picked up by the funeral homes, a service that they are only providing if the families have the certificate and only during daylight hours, since, due to the collapse, from 7:00 p.m. the city enters a curfew for eleven hours.


Between Monday and Friday, more than a thousand dead were buried in Manaus. Like hospitals, the cemeteries cannot cope and the lines of funeral cars at their entrances further mourn the panorama of chaos that surrounds the city.

Just yesterday the city registered a record of 213 burials, but on Thursday there were 186, Wednesday 198, Tuesday 166 and Monday 150.

Of all of them, almost half died from COVID-19Still others are awaiting confirmation and a third group died for other reasons, due to the lack of assistance in health centers, some of which have even closed their doors.

Manaus, being the capital of Amazonas and the largest city in the region, with 2.2 million inhabitants, concentrates most of the victims of COVID-19 in the state that already accumulates more than 6,000 deaths and 226,000 infected .



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