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Jair Bolsonaro. Photo: Andressa Anholete/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Brazil's Senate officially launched an investigation Tuesday into the government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, a move that could bring political consequences for President Jair Bolsonaro, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Brazil has suffered the world's second-highest death toll from COVID-19, with roughly 400,000 deaths, per Reuters.

  • Bolsonaro has drawn sharp criticism for pushing back against social distancing, masks, and lockdown measures.

The big picture: The probe will likely focus on the government's inability to quickly secure vaccine doses and "missteps in Amazonas," where a variant of the virus first appeared last year.

  • The inquiry will also shine a spotlight on Bolsonaro's role in sabotaging COVID-19 safety measures by targeting local authorities that instituted lockdowns, disseminating misinformation, and encouraging citizens to ignore social distancing measures, Al Jazeera reports.

Earlier this month Bolsonaro slammed the pending investigation. He faces reelection next year.

Go deeper

Aug 4, 2021 - Health

Illinois announces mask mandate for schools, vaccinations for state workers

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced Wednesday that the state would institute a mask mandate for preschool through high school students and staff and a vaccine mandate for some state employees.

Why it matters: The move comes as surging COVID-19 cases driven by the Delta variant in Illinois have led to rising hospitalization, ICU occupancy and ventilator use rates, per the governor's press release.

Biden and DeSantis snipe over Florida's COVID response

President Biden and Gov. Ron DeSantis talk about the collapse of the condo building in Surfside, during a briefing in early July. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

During a week when Florida has seen COVID cases and hospitalizations break records, Gov. Ron DeSantis blamed the spike on a "seasonal pattern" and "media hysteria."

  • His latest target: President Biden not securing the border with Mexico.

State of play: At a press conference in Panama City yesterday, DeSantis claimed that Biden is "facilitating" the virus by allowing "hundreds of thousands of people pouring across [the U.S.-Mexico border] every month."

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
Aug 5, 2021 - Health

Why vaccine passports are still just a dream

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Several practical and technological hurdles will stand in the way of widespread "vaccine passports."

Why it matters: COVID-19 vaccine mandates are quickly gaining steam, reviving interest in an easy, electronic way for people to verify that they're vaccinated. But that technology in some cases is still far from perfected, and some experts question how much it could really accomplish.