What is happening with a second wave of COVID-19 in Brazil?

Infection and Spread

A: A lot and it is not good.

Brazil is second to the U.S. in terms of new daily cases and total deaths, but has a much smaller population. Brazil is now considered to be the epicenter of the pandemic.

👩⚕️ Over the past few days, Brazil has surpassed nearly 4,000 COVID-19 related deaths per day and 337,000 total deaths (159 deaths/100,000 people in Brazil vs. 170 deaths/100,000 people in the U.S.). And this number will continue to rise (remember that exponential math). Hospital beds are full with many ICUs throughout Brazil at 90% capacity; oxygen and essential medical supplies are low. With so many cases, care in these hospitals may be suboptimal. People hospitalized for COVID-19 have a higher risk of dying in this context; people with new infections are also less likely to be able to access care.

👾 Most of these cases are likely driven by the Brazil variant, P.1 (remember that the variant is highly transmissible-due to a difference in the spike protein). Furthermore, vaccination rates are low. Less than 10% of the population in Brazil has been vaccinated. Finally, surrounding countries also have had increasing rates (like Uruguay, which was previously heralded as a model for control). Many countries, such as Argentina, are now closing their borders in attempts to stop the spread. While it is unlikely that this will help contain spread once the variant has already taken hold, it may discourage other behaviors that can contribute to spread such as non-essential travel.

💧 The loss of human life and livelihood in Brazil is tragic. While the current environment has already determined how COVID-19 will spread in the population over the next few weeks; there is still opportunity for change in the months to come. Good social distancing, universal masking, lockdown like measures, increased vaccination rates, and increased financial and social support can help bring these numbers down. By controlling the spread of COVID-19 (and thus limiting the virus’ ability to replicate), we can decrease the spread of variants. Less circulating COVID-19 = less possibility for mutations (variants) to arise and spread.

🇧🇷 We see our brothers and sisters in Brazil and are thinking of you. We will continue to support public health efforts and messaging to control this horrible disease.

💔 Estamos com vocês. We are with you.

With love,
Those Nerdy Girls

Recent Reporting on Brazil:

The New York Times

BBC News

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