Brazil reports 2nd straight day of record COVID deathsWednesday, March 03, 2021
BRASÍLIA, Brazil (AFP) - Brazil registered a record of COVID-19 deaths for the second straight day Wednesday, with 1,910 lives lost to the pandemic.
With a surge in cases currently pushing health systems to the limit in many areas, Brazil has recorded a total of 259,271 deaths, according to the health ministry -- the second-highest death toll worldwide, after the United States.
"For the first time since the pandemic began, we are seeing a deterioration across the entire country," public health institute Fiocruz said before the latest figures were published.
"The situation is alarming."
Brazil's 24-hour death toll had just set a new record Tuesday, at 1,641.
The sprawling country of 212 million people is having its deadliest week of the pandemic, with an average of 1,331 deaths per day.
Brazil has struggled to control COVID-19 throughout.
Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro faces sharp criticism for downplaying the new coronavirus, flouting expert advice on containing it with lock-downs and face masks, and over his government's slow pace in vaccinating the population.
Now, the situation has been exacerbated by a surge in cases stemming from the holidays and carnival season, when many people ignored the cancelation of official events to hold large gatherings and clandestine parties.
Experts say the emergence of a new virus variant known as P1 in the Amazon rainforest city of Manaus is also to blame for the recent surge.
The variant is now present in 17 of Brazil's 27 states, and has been detected in more than two dozen countries.
Studies indicate it is more contagious than the original strain of the virus and can re-infect people who have already had COVID-19.
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