EFEBy Alba Santandreu Sao Paulo

The director of a world-renowned Brazilian epidemiological center told Efe in an interview that even as the pandemic-battered country approaches the grim milestone of 500,000 Covid-19 deaths the "negationist movement" spearheaded by rightist President Jair Bolsonaro regrettably has grown stronger.

"There had never been such high mortality in Brazil, and it seems like people are playing around," Dr. Dimas Covas, a physician and scientist who since 2017 has run Brazil's prestigious Instituto Butantan, the largest vaccine producer in South America, said in reference to the head of state's supporters.