Brazil hits record 69,000 coronavirus cases in a day

FILE PHOTO: People run in front of the Copacabana Palace Hotel in Copacabana Beach amid the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 28, 2020. REUTERS / Ricardo Moraes

RIO DE JANEIRO / BRASILIA (Reuters) – The Brazilian coronavirus outbreak set daily records with 69,074 newly confirmed cases and 1,595 deaths on Wednesday as the second worst outbreak in the world accelerated to the milestone of 100,000 shortened lives.

Brazil is the country most affected by COVID-19 outside of the United States, both in terms of death and number of cases. According to the ministry, more than 2.5 million cases and 90,134 deaths have been reported since the pandemic started.

Sao Paulo, Brazil's most populous and hardest hit state, has worked through a backlog of previously unregistered cases and reported more than 26,000 cases on Wednesday alone.

President Jair Bolsonaro has pushed to reopen the Brazilian economy. In many cities, barriers are lifting, even though the number of diseases continues to increase. In some cases, Brazilians have packed themselves up in bars and crowded public places, often in violation of local regulations.

Bolsonaro himself has violated social guidelines at rallies in the capital city of Brasilia in recent months by joining supporters. He contracted coronavirus this month and spent weeks in partial isolation before recovering.

The right-wing populist has argued that the economic damage from blocking is worse than the disease itself, which he downplayed as "little flu" that can be cured by unproven treatments with the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine.

Reporting by Pedro Fonseca and Jake Spring; Edited by Brad Haynes, Sandra Maler and Dan Grebler

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