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A boat on the Jurura river in the Carauari municipality in Brazil's Amazon forest on March 15. Photo: Florence Goisnard/AFP via Getty Images

Brazil's Amazon rainforest lost over 2,000 square miles of forest from last August through March 2020, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing satellite data gathered by Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE).

The big picture: The largest and most biodiverse rainforest on the planet, which plays an essential part in slowing global warming, has faced rapid deforestation under far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

What's happening: Deforestation recorded between August 2019 and March is double the rate for that equivalent period in 2018 and 2019, tweeted Tasso Azevedo, coordinator of MapBiomas Alert, a partnership that validates deforestation data in Brazil, on April 10.

  • "In the midst of the #COVID19 crisis, the #deforestation detected by INPE in the #Amazon between January and March 2020 reached 796 km2," Azevedo saidx.

What's new: The amount of deforestation marked between August and March beats previous records for that equivalent period in 2016 and 20-17, the WSJ reports.

  • The agency's satellite data is preliminary and full data will be out in November, but environmentalists say "the early numbers are sending an ominous signal," the WSJ notes.

Where it stands: Brazil, which saw the first confirmed COVID-19 case in Latin America, has reported over 45,000 cases of the virus and more than 2,900 deaths. Over 25,000 people have recovered from the virus in the country, per Johns Hopkins data.

Go deeper: Brazil has lost 1,330 square miles of Amazon rainforest under Bolsonaro

Go deeper

Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Fed: Rate hikes "will soon be appropriate"

The Federal Reserve's headquarters building. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Federal Reserve officials expect "it will soon be appropriate" to raise the central bank's main target interest rate, setting the stage for a rate hike at its next meeting in mid-March.

Driving the news: In a statement following a two-day meeting published Wednesday afternoon, however, the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee teed up its next move without taking new action.

How long it’s taken to confirm Supreme Court justices

Expand chart
Data: Axios research, U.S. Supreme Court, Supreme Court Historical Society; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

It takes a U.S. president an average of 70 days from the date a Supreme Court seat is vacated to nominate a replacement, according to data from the Supreme Court Historical Society.

Why it matters: With news outlets reporting liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer's plans to retire, Democrats will be looking to confirm President Biden's nominee with enough time to refocus the national political debate ahead of the midterms.