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Brazil hits 700,000 virus deaths, 2nd highest in the world


SAO PAULO — The Brazilian government on Tuesday reported the 700,000th death from COVID-19 in the South American nation, which has the second highest death toll from the virus after the United States.

Brazilian health experts say most of those who have died of COVID-19 in recent days are unvaccinated or suffering from other debilitating illnesses.

“The vaccine currently available in every health care unit in Brazil could have changed the lives of families who lost loved ones in the pandemic,” the country’s health ministry said.

Health Minister Nisia Trindade has criticized former President Jair Bolsonaro for his handling of the pandemic. Bolsonaro, who fell ill with COVID, then refused to take the coronavirus vaccine and flouted health restrictions.

“We have to look at the past, but at the same time we have to say that the Ministry of Health cannot make the mistake of not coordinating, not taking charge, not treating (the disease). We must be united so that new tragedies do not occur,” Trindade said.

Miguel Lago, executive director of the Brazilian Institute for Health Policy Studies, which advises public health officials, said the figure was a reminder of the country’s obligation to punish those who failed to act against the virus. viruses or sabotaged those who tried.

“There was a direct responsibility of public officials, who could have responded to this in a much better way,” Lago told The Associated Press.

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