Brazil sets daily record for Covid cases, as pandemic third wave breaks

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People hug behind roses placed by the NGO Rio de Paz on Copacabana beach, Rio de Janeiro, in memory of Brazil's half a million Covid-19 victims, on June 20, 2021

Brazil set a new record for Covid-19 infections on Wednesday, with 115,228 new cases identified within 24 hours, the Health Ministry said, confirming the arrival of a third wave of the pandemic.

During the same period 2,392 new deaths were recorded, bringing the total to 507,109.

Brazil is the second worst-hit in the world in absolute numbers of fatalities, behind the United States which has suffered more than 600,000 deaths.

The largest country in Latin America, with 212 million inhabitants, Brazil has a total of 18,169,881 confirmed Covid cases, according to official figures, which many specialists considered an underestimate.

The number of daily infections has been rising steadily for more than a month and the average death rate has been around 2,000 per day since last week.

"With this continual acceleration in the number of cases, we are already in the third wave," said Carlos Lula, president of the National Council of Health Secretaries (Conass), which brings together health authorities from the countries various states, told the daily O Globo.