Bulgaria sees record COVID-19 deaths amid low vaccinations

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Medics work at the intensive care unit at Pirogov, Sofia’s main emergency hospital, in Sofia, Bulgaria, Friday, Oct. 29, 2021. Medics at Bulgaria’s main emergency hospital are fighting an uneven battle with the spread of the coronavirus as a new surge in cases has left its ailing health care system overwhelmed. Georgiev blamed the surge in infections on the widespread vaccine skepticism among Bulgarians, who have turned the country into the EU’s least vaccinated nation. (AP Photo Valentina Petrova)

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Bulgaria had 334 COVID-19 patients die in a single day in its count Tuesday, the country’s highest daily toll since the start of the pandemic.

Bulgarian health authorities also reported 5,286 newly confirmed cases of coronavirus over the past 24 hours. It has 8,516 COVID-19 patients who are hospitalized, 723 of them in intensive care.

The Balkan country of 7 million remains the least vaccinated in the 27-nation European Union, with less than one-third of its adults fully vaccinated.

Despite rising virus-related deaths, many Bulgarians remain skeptical of vaccines, due to unfounded fears of potential health damage, superstition or conspiracy theories. Many people also mistrust official information.

Ahead of Bulgaria’s Nov. 14 parliamentary and presidential elections, authorities have been widely hesitant to impose stricter measures to contain the spread of the virus.

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