Tue | Sep 21, 2021

Brazil’s COVID-19 death toll tops 500,000

Published:Saturday | June 19, 2021 | 3:44 PM
Men wait outside a privately owned oxygen factory to get their oxygen cylinders refilled, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, June 19, 2021. Health officials say Afghanistan is fast running out of oxygen as a deadly third surge of COVID worsen. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil said Saturday that more than 500,000 people in the country are confirmed to have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

The nation of 210 million people has been reporting an average of more than 2,000 daily deaths in recent days. Brazil's reported death toll is second only to that of the U.S., where the number of lives lost has topped 600,000.

Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga confirmed that the official death toll had passed 500,000.

“I am working tirelessly to vaccinate all Brazilians in the shortest time possible and change this scenario that has plagued us for over a year,” Queiroga tweeted.

Brazil is registering more than 70,000 confirmed coronavirus infections every day. Just 11.4% of the population has been fully vaccinated, according to the government.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has downplayed the coronavirus while trying to keep the economy humming. He dismissed the scourge early on as “a little flu” and has scorned masks.

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