Brazil has exceeded 2,000 COVID-related deaths in a single day for the first time, as infection rates soar.
On Wednesday, the country recorded 79,876 new cases, the third highest number in a single day with a record 2,286 deaths, bringing its death tally to 268,370.
The country has the second highest death toll in the world, behind the US and experts have warned that the transmission rate is made worse by the spread of a highly contagious variant of the virus – named P1 – which is thought to have originated in the Amazon city of Manaus.
The surge in cases has put health systems in most of Brazil’s largest cities under immense pressure, with many close to collapse.
President Jair Bolsonaro has belittled the risks posed by the virus from the start of the pandemic. He has also opposed quarantine measures taken at a regional level, arguing that the damage to the economy would be worse than the effects of the virus itself.5