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Brazil holds first carnival since Covid

After two long years without its frenetic festival of sparkling sequins, sultry samba and towering floats, Rio de Janeiro will hold its famed carnival parades Friday night for the first time since Covid-19 hit Brazil.

In what is sure to be a giant, glittering spectacle of pandemic catharsis, thousands of dancers and drummers will descend on the iconic beach city's "Sambadrome," reclaiming the carnival parade venue that was turned into a drive-through vaccination center at the height of the health crisis.

The all-night parades by the city's top samba schools Friday and Saturday nights will be the first since February 2020, marking a turning point for hard-hit Brazil, where Covid-19 has claimed more than 660,000 lives, second only to the United States.