Brazil coronavirus cases pass five million

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Brazil surpassed five million coronavirus infections on Wednesday and is approaching 150,000 deaths from the disease, amid optimism the virus is slowing in the hard-hit South American country.

The Health Ministry reported 31,553 new infections in the previous 24 hours, registering a total of 5,000,694 cases overall, behind only the United States and India.

Home to 212 million people, Brazil also counted 734 new deaths Wednesday, meaning the virus has claimed 148,228 lives since the country recorded its first in March.

Brazil has the world's second-highest death toll from the disease after the US.

The country's curve appears to be descending, however. The average number of deaths per day for the past week was 610. The daily average rarely dipped below 1,000 per day from June through August.

The country averaged around 27,000 new infections per day over the past week. The average was over 40,000 in early September.

But experts agree that despite the , the situation in Brazil remains "worrying."

The fall in the number of cases "isn't yet sustained," University of Brasilia epidemiologist Mauro Sanchez told AFP.

"Therefore, there is an initial trend of decline, but it has yet to be confirmed," he said.

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