RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazil accounts for one-quarter of the entire world's daily COVID-19 deaths, far more than any other single nation, and health experts are warning that the nation is on the verge of even greater calamity.
The nation's seven-day average of 2,400 deaths stands to reach to 3,000 within weeks, six experts told the Associated Press.
That's nearly the worst level seen by the U.S., though Brazil has two-thirds its population. Spikes of daily deaths could soon hit 4,000; on Friday, there were 3,650.
For the first time, new daily cases topped 100,000 on Thursday, with many more uncounted.
There is growing recognition that shutdowns are no longer avoidable – not just among experts, but also many mayors and governors. President Jair Bolsonaro, concerned about staving off economic doom, remains unconvinced of any need for clampdown, which leaves local leaders pursuing a patchwork of measures.
Serbia offers shots to foreigners
Thousands of vaccine-seekers from countries neighboring Serbia flocked to Belgrade on Saturday after Serbian authorities offered foreigners free coronavirus jabs if they showed up over the weekend.
Long lines of Bosnians, Montenegrins and North Macedonians – often entire families – formed in front of the main vaccination center in the Serbian capital as police kept watch.
Most of Serbia's Balkan neighbors have been struggling with shortages and have barely started mass vaccination drives, while Serbia boasts of having ample supplies and one of Europe's highest per capita vaccination rates.
Poland tightens restrictions
The Piw Paw club in Warsaw, Poland, advertised its event as a “Pandemic Fashion Show,” with models wearing “masks from the Spring 2021 collection.”
But even before the show could start Friday night, police swept in. They cleared away the few customers and arrested the club owner, who has defiantly kept his doors open despite pandemic restrictions banning the sale of alcohol or indoor dining – and despite earlier police raids and detentions.
A raft of new pandemic restrictions took effect in Poland on Saturday to slow the spread of the coronavirus as central Europe has emerged as a global hot spot. But as the club raid shows, authorities already had problems with people flouting the existing rules.
Maskless lawyer costs his client
A woman lost her personal injury lawsuit after her lawyer refused to wear a mask in court and the judge threw out her case, which had been set for trial.
The New York Daily News reported Friday that Brooklyn Judge Lawrence Knipel tossed the case after attorney Howard Greenwald said he could not breathe wearing the mask in the newly reopened court.
Knipel, who was hospitalized with COVID-19 last spring, insisted the lawyer comply with rules requiring masks in all state court buildings.
The judge told the newspaper the woman could refile the case.
5,000 in masks attend concert
If one overlooked the white face masks dotting the tightly packed crowd of music lovers, it was almost like pre-pandemic times in Barcelona's Palau Sant Jordi concert hall Saturday night.
Five thousand rock fans enjoyed a real-as-can-be concert after passing a same-day coronavirus screening, to test its effectiveness in preventing outbreaks of the virus at large cultural events.
The only rule inside the show was the strict use of the high-quality masks provided by the concert organizers.