She was alone when she died at the Rio de Janeiro hospital – her mother, Maria da Penha da Silva Siqueira, often thinks about this.
“It never crosses our mind that it will happen to him,” said Dr. Silva Sikira. “It was so fast. This virus doesn’t let us say goodbye.”
Da Silva, who left behind his 4-year-old son, Kovid-19 died in June last year. At the time, his death was slightly more unusual.
But since the new year, Brazil has descended on the worst days of this pandemic so far. Daily deaths and case numbers have broken previous records.
The question is: Is a new version infecting more young people and making them sick? Are youth adopting ways that they are more likely to become infected? Could it be some combination of the two?
ICU doctors: Our patients keep getting younger
Across the country, intensive care physicians keep saying the same thing: In this latest wave, their patients are younger than ever.
The 33-year-old intensive care physician at a public hospital in Rio de Janeiro, Drs. “We have otherwise healthy patients who are between 30 and 50 years old and this is the profile for most patients,” said Pedro Archer. . “There is a big difference in this latest wave.”
CNN has spoken to about a dozen ICU physicians and nurses since January, in several hospitals in several Brazilian states. Each said that their ICU beds are filled with more youth than ever before.
“The number of serious infections is much higher than in the first wave,” ICU Dr. Back in January. Luan Matos de Menezes said, speaking to CNN near a public hospital in the Amazon city of Manaus. “You can tell that their situation is much more important.”
The Brazilian Ministry of Health has published national data on the age of Kovid-19 victims. An AFP analysis of that ministry’s data found that the number of people aged 30-59 represented 27% of Kovid-19 deaths in the past three months – a 7% increase from the pre-December numbers.
AFP also accounted for the share of deaths of people over 60 years of age and fell to 7% in the same time period. CNN has not independently verified the analysis.
State health officials in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s most populous state, said earlier this month that the hard testimony from doctors across the country about the severity of cases among under-aged people is supported by their data.
Officials said that 60% of young patients with Kovid-19 need ICU beds, higher than before in the epidemic.
For doctors, watching younger patients die is particularly cruel.
Dr., 42 years of intensive care medicine in Sao Paulo. Maria Dolores da Silva said, “The death of a man in his 30s is very painful.” “He has his whole life ahead of him and Kovid takes it.”
What is the fault?
Both the disease and death have increased in young people with the rise of at least one Kovid-19 variant in Brazil.
The so-called p. The 1st edition, which scientists say originated from Brazil, is widely agreed that according to a recent study it can be transmitted more easily by up to 2.2 times.
According to a March 4 study of eight Brazilian states by the National Health Research Institute Fucruz, more than half of Kovid-19 cases in six states were “linked to variants of concern”, including P.1, as well as variants of the UK for the first time. Was identified in South Africa.
Appearing for the first time at the end of last year, many doctors speculated that the P1 variant had something to do with the change in demographics among the sick. But it is too early to know what role this version is actually playing.
“It is possible that these new variants are more lethal, but we do not have scientific data to confirm this,” said Brazilian epidemiologist Jessem Orellana. “But what we do know is that the P.1 version is more communicable and it plays a bigger role in this second wave.”
Experts also point to an increase in parties around the new year and the carnival holidays in the first half of the year. Younger people attending parties are likely to arrive just late.
Videos of illegal ceremonies are very easy to find online and in cities across the country authorities are writing to pay fines and break parties every single weekend.
“You have too much communicable virus,” said Brazilian microbiologist Natalia Pastrnak. “It is going to infect more people, including more young people. [The surge] There may be only one epidemiological effect of infecting so many people at the same time. “
And although Brazil’s vaccine rollout program suffers from delays, it is moving slowly with the elderly as its priority. The more old people are vaccinated, experts say, the more skewed the situation and the death toll may be on the younger side.
This is an effect that Maria da Penha da Silva Sikira feels almost acute every day. It has been nine months since she lost her daughter at a very young age, but sometimes, she says, it feels like yesterday.
“When my grandson, his son, sees the stars, he says he is right there. This week, he told my sister that he wanted to go to heaven so he could see his mother.”
Reporting contributions by Marcia Reverdosa and Eduardo Duve.