As the nation reported a record number of coronavirus-related deaths for the second day in a row, Brazil's Sao Paulo state has declared new "code red" COVID-19 restrictions.

Reports claim the country passed 261,000 coronavirus deaths, the worst since the health crisis began. According to some estimates, the death toll could explode to more than 3,000 deaths a day in the coming weeks.

Experts recorded 1,910 new deaths and 71,704 new COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday, March 3. The second day in a row Brazil set a new record for the number of deaths.

More than 10.5 million coronavirus cases have been reported in Brazil. Just the United States and India have more.

After first arriving in Brazil, the pandemic spread rapidly, peaking at the end of July with daily new infections exceeding 70,000 and daily deaths exceeding 1,500.

Cases and deaths in Brazil decreased until early November when a second wave caused cases to increase again, a trend that seems to have intensified after January.

Experts believe the second wave is due to the discovery of a new coronavirus strain linked to Manaus.

It was thought that those exposed in the first wave would have developed some level of immunity or defense. Despite this, the second wave of infections still hit the area.

Researchers believe this is due to the emergence of a new variant that evades the immunity offered by previous infections.

Vaccinating a population of 211 million people spread around a vast area was already challenging. Still, difficulties in vaccine supply and a lack of a coordinated national solution added to the delays.

According to BBC, around 7.1 million people have taken at least one dose so far. That equates to about 3.4 percent of the total population.

Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil's far-right president, has attracted international condemnation and protests for his handling of the pandemic, as he downplayed the virus's impact and shunned public health interventions.

State governors declared that instead of waiting for the federal government to supply vaccines, they would band together to purchase them directly from producers.

They have chastised President Bolsonaro for failing to secure enough vaccine stocks, even though he has downplayed the virus's threats since the outbreak began.

Jair Bolsonaro Jair Bolsonaro, presidential candidate for the Social Liberal Party, attends an interview for Correio Brazilianse newspaper in Brasilia, June 6, 2018. Getty Images/ EVARISTO SA