‘Out of control’: Brazil’s COVID surge sparks regional fears
Apr 10, 2021 1 min, 37 secs
Brazil’s South American neighbours worry a COVID-19 variant will spread quickly and lead to another wave of deaths.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Almost a year ago to the day, the jungle city of Manaus grabbed international headlines after a flood of COVID-19 deaths forced gravediggers to dig mass burials – catapulting the city into the centre of Brazil’s coronavirus outbreak.

As the country continues to hit grim milestones – a record 4,247 deaths on Thursday alone – the entire South American nation is now the global COVID-19 epicentre, with experts warning that 5,000 Brazilians could lose their lives in a single day in April.

The staggering amount of deaths in Brazil in just a few months is our biggest worry,” virologist and researcher Humberto Debat, from the National Institute of Agricultural Technology told Al Jazeera.

People wait to board a train at Luz station in São Paulo, Brazil, April 6, 2021 [Amanda Perobelli/Reuters]As Brazilians continued to flout containment measures, the P1 variant hatched, believed to have emerged in the Brazilian Amazon at the tail end of 2020.

Officials and experts are concerned about the speed with which the P1 variant, which is likely more infectious, is spreading and the damage it could pose globally.

As Brazil’s health system caves in, with intubation drugs and oxygen stocks critically low, Villela also told Al Jazeera that oversaturated hospitals were causing more deaths.

Residents wait in line to receive a COVID vaccine at the community Quilombo Quilomba, descendants of African slaves, in Mage, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil, April 7, 2021 [Pilar Olivares/Reuters]“The P1 variant is serious.

Despite promising news on Wednesday of preliminary results from a continuing study finding China’s Sinovac vaccine to be 50 percent effective against the P1 strain, experts have warned that the speed with which the virus is mutating could spell disaster for current vaccine campaigns.

According to government data, the 121 COVID deaths recorded in April has exceeded last year’s total COVID deaths.


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