Brazil's COVID-19 death toll passes 250,000 – health ministryThursday, February 25, 2021
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AFP)— Brazil's death toll from COVID-19 surpassed a quarter-million Thursday, a year after the first case was confirmed in the country, which is struggling with vaccine shortages and a devastating second wave.
The new coronavirus has now killed 251,498 people in Brazil, according to health ministry figures -- the second-highest toll worldwide, after the United States, where the number passed half a million Monday.
The news came a day before Brazil marks one year since health officials confirmed its first case of the virus, a Sao Paulo businessman returning from a trip to Italy.
Since then, the virus has spread across the sprawling South American country with dire effectiveness.
It has hit especially hard in Brazilian cities' impoverished "favelas," among indigenous communities with vulnerable immune systems, and in the Amazon rainforest city of Manaus, where there have been haunting scenes of mass graves and patients suffocating to death with no oxygen.
President Jair Bolsonaro has meanwhile flouted expert advice on managing the pandemic at every turn, railing against lockdowns and face masks and instead touting the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine despite a series of studies showing it is ineffective against COVID-19.
His government now faces criticism for failing to secure more vaccines.
The health ministry registered 1,541 COVID-19 deaths in the past 24 hours.
This has been the deadliest week of the pandemic in Brazil, with a daily average of 1,149 deaths over the past seven days.
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