(CNN)A second wave of Covid-19 is ripping through Brazil, pushing hospitals and ICUs toward collapse and claiming record numbers of daily deaths.

While a new variant of the coronavirus spreads throughout the country, many Brazilians continue to defy mask mandates mobility restrictions following the example of President Jair Bolsonaro, who recently said people need to "stop being sissies" and "whining" about the virus.

The consequences of that combination are deadly, experts say. "We are going through the worst-case scenario since the beginning of the pandemic. You just have to look at the trends in the average number of deaths," Gonzalo Vecina Neto, a Sao Paulo University professor of Public Health, recently told Reuters television. "This could have been avoided and the most important factor is gatherings."

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