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A 22-year-old Brazilian man died from Covid-19 while waiting for an ICU bed in Sao Paulo, the city’s mayor Bruno Covas said during a news conference Thursday.

The man was admitted to a local hospital on the night of March 11 and died from the virus on March 13. The ICU bed became available a day after he died, according to Covas.

“He died 46 hours after entering the hospital,” Covas said, adding that he “was only 22 years old. This shows how the profile of the [Covid-19] patients is changing.”

Brazil has faced a surge in infections this month. On Thursday, Sao Paulo city reached an ICU occupancy rate of 88%, according to the state’s health authorities. The level is close to what the city saw at the height of its first wave of infections in June 2020.

As of Thursday, 395 people are still waiting for an ICU bed in Sao Paulo, according to Covas.

“The city, which has never stopped, needs to stop. So that we don’t have more cases like this, of people who are not admitted [to the ICU] due to lack of beds,” said Covas.

Lack of medical supplies: Brazil’s recent surge in infections is not only causing a shortage of ICU beds throughout the country, but also leading to a lack of critical supplies and medications for patients in those units.

The National Front of Mayors (FNP) sent a letter to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and the Health Ministry Thursday asking for “immediate measures” from the federal government, including sedation medications and oxygen for intubated patients with Covid-19 and other illnesses. 

According to FNP, mayors are asking for help to prevent “the tragic and cruel scenes recently witnessed in Manaus.” The largest city in the state of Amazonas experienced major oxygen shortages in January.

The organization of mayors represents 412 cities accounting for 61% of Brazil’s population.

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