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Cemetery workers bury a coronavirus victim of coronavirus at a funeral in Sao Paulo, Brazil, March 12. Photo: Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images

Brazil became on Wednesday the second country after the U.S. to surpass 300,000 COVID-19 deaths.

For the record: The health ministry confirmed Wednesday another 2,009 Brazilians had died of the coronavirus, taking the total pandemic death toll to 300,685. Brazil's population is much smaller than the U.S., which reached the milestone on Dec. 14, 2020.

  • The country's daily coronavirus death toll on Tuesday passed 3,000 for the first time.

Driving the news: Brazil has reported 100,000 deaths from the virus in 75 days, "a spike health experts blame on a lack of political coordination in fighting the virus, new variants that spread more easily and a disregard for health protocols," per AP.

  • COVID-19 case loads have overwhelmed hospitals across the country, and many have been operating at near or beyond their capacity.
  • Several Brazilian states have reported critical medical stock levels, including inadequate amounts of oxygen, Al Jazeera reports.

Of note: President Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly downplayed the virus, and he didn't offer any policies to address the pandemic during a meeting with the heads of other government branches, which was called to coordinate a response to the pandemic, AP notes.

Go deeper

Updated 55 mins ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: The warning signs of a longer pandemic — CDC director: Answer to Michigan COVID-19 surge is "to close things down."
  2. Vaccines: Former FDA chief offers reality check on vaccine passports.
  3. Economy: Jobs growth could be curbed by demands for higher wages.
  4. World: Facebook to push notifications about vaccine eligibility to 20 countries outside of the U.S. — Brits flock to pubs for first time in months as U.K. lockdown eases.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
2 mins ago - World

Scoop: U.S. and Israel to hold strategic Iran talks on Tuesday

Jake Sullivan. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty

Top national security officials from the U.S. and Israel will convene virtually on Tuesday for a second round of strategic talks on Iran, three Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: The talks come two days after an explosion at an Iranian nuclear facility that experts consider a likely act of Israeli sabotage, and one day before the U.S. resumes indirect nuclear talks in Vienna over a return to the 2015 nuclear deal — a prospect that has raised anxiety levels in Jerusalem.

Updated 10 mins ago - Axios Twin Cities

Police: Officer who shot Daunte Wright accidentally pulled gun instead of taser

The officer who fatally shot a 20-year-old Black man outside Minneapolis Sunday appeared to have inadvertently pulled out her gun instead of a taser, police said.

Driving the news: "This appears to me, from what I viewed in the officer's reaction and distress immediately after, that this was an accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Wright," Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon told reporters Monday.