Brazilians saw in 2021 with fireworks under unusual social distancing measures, while in a hospital intensive care ward outside Sao Paulo, doctors tending COVID-19 patients held one minute of silence for the passing of a deadly year.
Medical staff stood at the foot of beds with people hooked up to ventilators, and then went around wishing their patients a happy New Year through face shields and masks.
The sound of fireworks in the streets outside broke the monotony of whirring ventilators and beeping monitors.
There was little to celebrate with 195,000 Brazilians losing their lives in the world’s second-deadliest coronavirus outbreak after the United States, but there is hope that vaccines will arrive in the New Year.
In the ICU ward at the field hospital erected in the industrial city of Santo André adjacent to Brazil’s largest metropolis, patients on ventilators received the New Year suffering in silence, and hoping for a better 2021.
“I’m sad to be separated from my family, but I expect to return home healthy,” said Vinicius Perreira, who was hospitalized five days ago with half his lungs collapsed.
Despite the cancellation of most year-end events due to the pandemic, Brazilians celebrated with fireworks mainly from their homes, though hundreds appeared on beaches that are usually jam packed on New Year’s Eve.