Rio de Janeiro:
The number of Covid-19 patients under 40 in intensive care in Brazil surpassed older groups last month, a researcher said on Sunday, amid a deadly wave due in part to a new variant of the coronavirus.
The number of people aged 39 and under in intensive care units with Covid-19 in March rose sharply to more than 11,000, or 52.2% of the total, the Brazilian intensive care project said.
This represented 14.6% of total intensive care patients at the start of the pandemic and about 45% from September to February.
“Previously, this was a population that would generally only develop a less severe form of the disease and would not need intensive care. So the increase for this age group is very significant,” said Dr Ederlon Rezende, co-coordinator of the project, an initiative of the Brazilian Association of Intensive Medicine (AMIB).
He said various factors could be behind this increase.
Patients over 80, who fell from 13.6% to 7.8% of the total in Brazil’s ICUs in March, are now widely vaccinated.
Young people are also more likely to be exposed to the virus, either because they have to leave home to work or because they think they are less vulnerable, he said.
Another factor could be the new Brazilian variant, known as P1, which experts say is partly responsible for the explosion in the number of Covid-19 deaths in the country in March.
The figures suggest that P1, which can re-infect people who have had the original strain of the virus, could also be more virulent, Rezende said.
“Patients arriving in ICUs are now younger, have no pre-existing pathologies and also develop more severe cases of the virus,” he told AFP.
The number of intensive care patients without pre-existing conditions rose by almost a third in March, to 30.3% of the total.
And the proportion of patients on ventilators reached a pandemic record of 58.1% in March, according to project data.
Brazil recorded more than 66,500 Covid-19-related deaths in March, more than double the hard-hit country’s previous monthly record in July 2020.
The disease has killed a total of 351,000 people in the country of 212 million people, a number of deaths just behind that of the United States.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)