A collapse foretold: How Brazil's outbreak overwhelmed hospitals

Intensive care units in Brasília, the capital, and 16 of Brazil’s 26 states report dire shortages of available beds, with capacity below 10 percent, and many are experiencing rising contagion (when 90 percent of such beds are full the situation is considered dire.)

In Rio Grande do Sul, the state that includes Porto Alegre, the waiting list for intensive care unit beds doubled over the past two weeks, to 240 critically ill patients.

At Hospital Restinga e Extremo Sul, one of the main medical facilities in Porto Alegre, the emergency room has become a crammed Covid ward where many patients received care in chairs, for lack of a free bed. Last week, the military built a tent field hospital outside the main entrance, but hospital officials said the additional bed space is of little use for a medical staff stretched beyond its limit.

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