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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."

1 hour ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

2 hours ago - World

France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), and French ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."