“You have to be an engineer for this to work,” he says. “You must be like MacGyver.”
The video moves past a woman who has oxygen. The hose runs from her nose to the stretcher she is sitting on and then out of the open window.
It runs to another window, the green tube swaying in the wind over an open courtyard, half a dozen floors below. The pipe ends at an oxygen connection in the wall of the other room.
This is the only way a woman, a Covid 19 patient in this hospital in the Brazilian capital Brasilia, can get oxygen. The room where the oxygen source is located is so crowded with Covid-19 patients that she has to sit in a hallway where her life-saving oxygen is being supplied precariously.
The scene is a microcosm of what is currently going on across Brazil amid a brutal and runaway wave of Covid-19.
On Thursday evening, the Brazilian Ministry of Health reported the gruesome number of more than 100,000 new Covid-19 cases confirmed in a single day. This is the highest number in the country since the pandemic began.
According to official information, a total of 303,462 people in the country have died from the virus so far.
But it’s the 7-day averages that paint an even bleak picture.
With 15,963 deaths from March 19-25 and 14,610 deaths the previous week, these are the highest numbers in the pandemic, and they’re trending in the wrong direction.
According to JHU data, Brazil has recorded around 24% of all coronavirus deaths worldwide in the past two weeks.
A variant of Covid-19, P1, continues to roam the country as experts believe it is more contagious and potentially causing more serious diseases than previous strains. Even younger people are not spared.
Of the 26 Brazilian states and the federal district, only one or two have ICU utilization below 80% on any given day.
More than half is over 90%. If the health systems in these states have not yet collapsed, there is an immediate risk of it.
The health systems have been inundated with patients who cannot be adequately cared for due to a critical lack of space and supplies.
With Brazil suffering from the worst days of this pandemic yet, there are signs of a breakdown at all levels of the health system in almost every state in the country.
Signs of breakdown
First responders, hospital staff and even cemetery workers have told CNN that this latest wave has brought them to their knees.
“It’s a war scenario,” said the medic Luis Eduardo Pimentel in São Paulo. “I can hardly describe what I see, it’s so sad what is happening to the country.”
He described incessant Covid-19 calls, unnecessary deaths, and hospitals so congested they were getting supplies from everywhere.
CNN spoke to him after his shift ended earlier than expected after a hospital picked up the stretcher he put his Covid-19 patient on – the hospital ran out of beds.
Other examples are innumerable.
In a video given to CNN last week, 12 ambulances carrying patients are waiting outside a São Paulo hospital for a bed room to open inside.
CNN visited a Covid-19-certified hospital on Thursday that had stopped admitting patients because they ran out of space. In an area normally reserved for 16 patients in the semi-intensive care unit, almost double that amount was treated.
Some had already been intubated and would normally have been sent to an intensive care unit, but there was no such room in the hospital.
When the intensive rates hit 90%, like Thursday in Sao Paulo, they are practically full, said Geraldo Reple Sobrinho, president of the council of local health secretaries. “In reality, this means full bed occupancy because every time a patient is discharged or dies, it takes time to clean that bed and change equipment. It takes four, five hours.”
In the meantime, more and more patients are dying. There have been so many deaths in recent days that burials are taking place in São Paulo cemeteries every few minutes.
Crematoria couldn’t keep up. A video shared with CNN shows at least two dozen coffins waiting to be cremated – demand is about three times what the facility can handle in a single day.
The government’s response … or the lack of it
With his country shaking during this latest outbreak, President Jair Bolsonaro still needs to take significant steps to implement a coordinated national response.
He delivered a televised address to the country on Tuesday evening, saying 2021 will be the “year of the vaccine”.
Critics, however, derided the three-minute speech as a half-hearted attempt at a PR bailout on a day Brazil set its own record for the most coronavirus deaths recorded in a single day.
The federal government seemed to have another goal of its own the following day. The Ministry of Health announced that it would need more information from municipalities reporting information on Covid-19 victims.
This immediately raised concerns that the additional requirements would reduce the number of reported Covid-19 deaths.
Those concerns seemed immediately justified as the death toll reported on Wednesday was nearly 1,200 fewer than the previous day.
At the end of the day on Wednesday, the Ministry of Health suspended the new reporting requirements after severe setbacks from states and the public.
In the absence of a coordinated federal response, any restrictions put in place to contain the spread of the virus have been left to individual states.
Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Minas Gerais are among the states that have introduced night curfews, despite the Bolsonaro government filing a lawsuit with the Brazilian Supreme Court stating that only the federal government has the right to impose such restrictions.
The court sided with the states this week calling Bolsonaro’s argument “totalitarian”.
CNN’s Natalie Gallón, journalists Marcia Reverdosa and Eduardo Duwe, and CNN’s Kara Fox contributed to this report.