Saturday’s move came after months of criticism from experts that Brazil’s statistics are woefully deficient, and in some cases manipulated.
Brazil’s last official numbers showed it had recorded over 34,000 deaths related to coronavirus, the third-highest number in the world. It reported nearly 615,000 infections, putting it second, behind the United States.
On Friday, the federal Health Ministry took down a website that had showed daily, weekly and monthly figures on infections and deaths in Brazilian states. On Saturday, the site returned but the cumulative numbers of infections for states and the nation had been removed.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tweeted Saturday that disease totals are “not representative” of the country’s current situation.
A council of state health secretaries said it would fight the changes by Bolsonaro, who has dismissed the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic and tried to thwart attempts to impose quarantines, curfews and social distancing, arguing those steps are causing more damage to the economy than the illness.