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What We're Watching: Brazil's specific COVID challenges, Biden's Iran test, India's COVID budget

Brazil's COVID nightmare: President Jair Bolsonaro's pandemic leadership in Brazil has been characterized by denial and incompetence, leading to the world's second highest death toll behind the US. But why is Brazil's COVID experience so bad even in a year of global catastrophe? First, the new strain out of Brazil, which mutated because the virus was allowed to run rampant, might be changing the pandemic's trajectory in a big way, experts say. Second, in the hard-hit city of Manaus in the Amazon rainforest, which was thought to have developed high levels of immunity because of a massive outbreak last year, many people are now getting reinfected and becoming very sick. Hospitals in Manaus are again inundated, and people are dying simply because there isn't enough oxygen support to go around. Additionally, in playing down the virus' severity and employing a lax approach to vaccine procurement, Bolsonaro cost the country precious time: Brazil now has 6 million doses handy, enough to vaccinate just 3 million people out of a population of 213 million. Yet the president is still sowing fear and doubt: "If you turn into a crocodile, that's your problem," he said about why he's not getting vaccinated.

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