Brazil's COVID-19 death toll passes 300,000


 Brazil's death toll from COVID-19 passed the 300,000 mark on Wednesday, according to the Health Ministry.

The South American country had 89,992 cases of coronavirus reported in the last 24 hours and 2,009 COVID-19 deaths, the ministry said, one day after reporting a record 3,251 deaths.

The health ministry registered a record 3,251 deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing Brazil’s overall death toll to nearly 299,000 – second only to the United States.

The latest bleak milestone came on the same day President Jair Bolsonaro installed his fourth health minister of the pandemic, facing pressure to change tack after downplaying the virus and flouting expert advice on containing it.

Cardiologist Marcelo Queiroga, 55, took over the post from Eduardo Pazuello, an army general with no medical experience whose handling of Covid-19 was widely criticized.

Pazuello is notably facing investigation for failing to ensure oxygen supplies to the northern city of Manaus, where there were horrific scenes in January of Covid-19 patients suffocating to death when hospitals ran out.

Bolsonaro’s first two health ministers, doctors Luiz Henrique Mandetta and Nelson Teich, both fell out with the president over his defiance of expert advice on containing the virus.

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