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Mourners watch as workers wearing protective equipment bury the casket of a Covid-19 victim at the Vila Formosa cemetery in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Wednesday, March 24, 2021. Photo: Victor Moriyama/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Brazil is facing a "raging inferno of an outbreak," Bruce Aylward, senior adviser to the director general of the World Health Organization, warned Friday as the number of coronavirus cases and deaths across the country soars.

Driving the news: The surge, driven in part by relaxed mitigation measures and a more contagious local variant, has overwhelmed the country's health system. Brazil this week confirmed more than 4,000 COVID-19 deaths in a 24-hour period for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

  • The nation has confirmed more than 348,000 coronavirus deaths and more than 13.3 million cases, second only to the U.S., per Johns Hopkins University data.

What he's saying: "The crucial thing to be doing right now are those proven steps that we know will slow down this virus," Aylward said during a media briefing.

  • “What you are dealing with here is a raging inferno of an outbreak, and that requires population-level action in the rapid identification, isolation, [and] quarantining because you have to approach this at that scale to slow this thing down."

The big picture: President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday slammed a pending Senate investigation into his handling of the pandemic, Reuters reports.

  • Bolsonaro has repeatedly pushed back against social distancing, masks and lockdowns.
  • "A Senate investigation represents the most severe political consequence to date for Bolsonaro’s approach to the coronavirus, which he compared to a 'little flu' last year as he ignored health experts calling for mask wearing and social distance," Reuters notes.

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Apr 9, 2021 - Health

CDC says Johnson & Johnson vaccine supply will drop 80% next week

Photo: Niels Wenstedt/BSR Agency via Getty Images

Allocations of Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine will plummet by 80% next week, according to data released by the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention.

Why it matters: J&J's single-dose shot is viewed as key to U.S. efforts to vaccinate enough Americans to reach herd immunity as soon as possible. A spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal that J&J is still aiming to meet its goal of delivering 100 million doses by June.

Apr 9, 2021 - Health

America may be close to hitting a vaccine wall

Data: CDC; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

There are growing signs that parts of the country may be close to meeting demand for the coronavirus vaccine — well before the U.S. has reached herd immunity.

Why it matters: For the last few months, the primary focus of the U.S. has been getting shots to everyone who wants them, as quickly as possible. Soon, that focus will abruptly shift to convincing holdouts to get vaccinated.