Catholic leaders in Brazil ask for more oxygen tanks due to decreasing supplies

Credit: sfam_photo/Shutterstock.

CNA Staff, Jan 19, 2021 / 11:01 pm (CNA).- As the second wave of coronavirus has severely impacted people in the Amazon, Brazilian bishops have asked for donations of oxygen supplies to help patients in crowded hospitals.

“We, bishops of Amazonas and Roraima, make an appeal: For the love of God, send us oxygen,” said Archbishop Leonardo Steiner of Manaus according to a recent video, Independent Catholic News reported.

Archbishop Steiner released the video Jan. 16 emphasizing difficulties faced by residents of Amazonas – a state in northwestern Brazil. He said that during the first wave of the virus, victims faced a lack of information and hospital beds. Now, he said, the patients are dying from a lack of oxygen tanks.

He encouraged listeners to put themselves in the services of others and follow pandemic restrictions instead of focusing on political divisions and promoting arguments.

“I make another appeal in [the] name of our bishops, that we put ourselves at the service of others, that we continue to use a mask, follow social distancing and carry on caring for each other’s health,” he said.

“We are in a difficult moment of the pandemic, which seems almost without an end. Let us all make our contribution and engage with solidarity in caring for the life of one another.”

According to Agence France-Presse, COVID-19 has killed over 210,000 people in the country. In Amazonas, the virus has caused an average of 149 deaths per 100,000 residents. Of Brazil’s 27 states, the Amazonas is the second-worst region to be affected by the coronavirus.

Governor Wilson Limas tweeted last Thursday that the state began to airlift 235 patients to five other Brazilian states because of a lack of oxygen supplies. Over 60 premature infants in Manaus were also airlifted to hospitals in Sao Paulo, about 2,500 miles away from Manaus, on Jan. 15.

Health officials have expressed concern that the coronavirus in the region has mutated into more contagious strains.

As oxygen supplies continue to diminish, those with Covid-19 and their families have forgone hospitals and relatives have waited hours to purchase oxygen supplies for themselves. While in line for a new oxygen market, local resident Fernando Marcelino told AFP that supplies are limited.

“Everyone here has a family member being treated at home. They prefer that to leaving them to die in the hospitals,” said Marcelino.

“The oxygen is arriving, but we don’t know how long that will last for,” he added.

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