Virus focus Brazil
Flammable Manaus mutant – epidemiologist warns: “Brazil is a threat to global health”
People who have already been immunized can also be infected by the “P.1” virus variant. President Bolsonaro’s corona denial could spark a new wave around the world.
In Brazil, the corona pandemic is spiraling out of control. More than 3,200 people fell victim to the virus within the last 24 hours – more than ever before. A highly contagious new virus mutation called “P.1” is to blame for the sad record. The Brazilians also speak of the “Manaus mutant”, referring to the Amazon city in which the mutation was first detected in November.
Studies have shown that it can trick the immune system of up to 60 percent of all people who have had Covid-19 before. Most vaccines seem to work against the Manaus mutant, but to a very different extent. “The world has not yet understood the terrible potential of P.1,” warns epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding of the Federation of American Scientists in Washington. There could be a rude awakening. The Brazilian medic Pedro Hallal from the state of Rio Grande do Sul says:
“Brazil is a threat to global health.”
Only a rigid lockdown with a significantly improved vaccination campaign could prevent the crisis from worsening dramatically with international consequences.
Exhausted doctors post pictures of young people who have died
The rapid increase in Covid 19 cases caused by the “Manaus mutant” has brought Brazilian hospitals to the limit of their capacities. The intensive care units are full. There are hundreds of names on the waiting lists for ventilators. In more than a hundred cities in the country, including the metropolis of São Paulo, there is a risk of clinical oxygen running out.
Intubated patients could – as happened a few weeks ago in Manaus – suffocate in their beds. From the capital Brasília, images of Covid 19 victims in body bags are spreading in the hospital corridors. More and more often, exhausted doctors are also posting photos of the deceased on social networks. There are noticeably many young people among the dead.
In view of these conditions, the Fiocruz Health Foundation speaks of the “greatest collapse of the health system and hospitals” in the history of Brazil. Experts are calling for all non-essential activities to be shut down for at least 14 days.
Even Bolsonaro seems worried now
President Jair Bolsonaro, who has so far always belittled the corona crisis, was the first to be conciliatory in a televised address: “We don’t know how long we will have to endure this crisis, but I want to reassure the Brazilians. The vaccinations are guaranteed ”, claimed the far-right head of state, who has so far done everything to prevent strict lockdown measures and failed to buy vaccines early. Most recently, the president showed himself with a face mask and praised the vaccination campaign. He had mocked and rejected both for months.
In the largest country in Latin America, almost 300,000 people have died of Covid-19 since the pandemic began. In absolute terms, this is the second highest value in the world after the USA. During Bolsonaro’s TV address, people in more than a dozen cities in the country ventured with the “panelaços”, beating pans and pots. According to a survey by the polling institute Datafolha, 54 percent of Brazilians consider Bolsonaro’s performance during the crisis to be poor. That is six percent more than in January. After all, 22 percent still consider him a good crisis manager.
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Virus source Brazil flammable Manaus mutant epidemiologist warns Brazil threat global health