COVID-19 infections hit new high in Brazil

Brazil reported a new record of COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, Reuters reported

The country’s Health Ministry said that 137,103 new cases were reported in a 24-hour period and the number of coronavirus-related deaths rose to 351, according to the wire service.

The death count is the highest since November. 

The new report of virus cases soared above the previous daily record of 115,228 new infections last June, according to Reuters. 

Brazil has the third-highest death toll from the ongoing pandemic, behind the U.S. and Russia. 

The news from Brazil comes amid the global spread of the omicron variant, a highly transmissible strain first discovered in South Africa. The variant has taken hold in the U.S., forcing some states to deploy their National Guard to relieve ailing hospitals that are at capacity.  

The ongoing spread of omicron has filled up medical facilities in Brazil, prompting authorities to provide more resources and deploy more health workers to deal with the surge, Reuters reported. 

About 70 percent of Brazil’s population is fully vaccinated against the virus, according to Our World in Data. Officials have also begun administering vaccines for children aged 5-11 years old, Reuters noted. 

Since the start of the pandemic, Brazil has recorded 23.2 million virus cases and over 620,000 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.