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Brazil coronavirus strain: Variant three times more deadly for 18 to 45-year-olds

A new coronavirus variant, spreading worldwide, is proving to be up to three times more deadly for young people. According to research, the new coronavirus variant sweeping through Brazil and spreading to other nations around the world is proving to be up to three times more deadly for young people.

It is also spreading more quickly among younger people, with cases among Brazilians in their 30s, 40s, and 50s increasing by 565 percent, 626 percent, and 525 percent respectively since the beginning of January, according to Brazilian public health institute Fiocruz.

In comparison, during the same periods, the increase in the overall population was much lower at 316 percent, suggesting the virus infections are making “a shift to younger age groups”.

There is also growing evidence showing that young people are more likely to get infected with the new strain – dubbed P. 1 – and die from it.

The Brazilian Association of Intensive Care Medicine said that the number of 18 to 45-year-olds requiring intensive care for COVID-19 in February to March was three times greater than in September to November 2020, and coronavirus-related deaths in that age group have almost doubled.

The data showed a massive 193 percent increase in coronavirus-related deaths for Brazilians aged 18 to 45, increasing from 13.1 percent to 38.5 percent between the first and second waves.

Brazilian hospital patients are increasingly younger.

On the frontline in Brazil, doctors and nurses notice an increasingly young cohort of COVID patients filling beds. “Last year, we had more critical elderly patients. Now, it’s completely distinct. We’re dealing with a substantial number of severe patients in their 30s to 50s,” Dr. Anne Menezes from Getulio Vargas Hospital in the jungle city of Manaus, told Al Jazeera.

The 29-year-old said seeing younger patients die is particularly devastating.

“We’ve recently lost patients my age. It could have been me. We fought hard to save them, but there comes the point when you have to stop,” she said.

Variant more infectious and spreading globally

The variant is widely agreed to be more infectious and transmissible generally – by as much as 2.2 times – and 25 to 61 percent more capable of reinfecting people who had been infected with an earlier strain of the virus, according to recent studies conducted by researchers at the University of Sao Paulo in collaboration with Oxford University and Imperial College London.

It is now spreading in many nations worldwide, and a high-profile series of infections in Canada is adding to significant concerns about how it affects young and healthy people.

The Vancouver region has recently become a hotspot for the P. 1 variant, and now more than half of the Vancouver Canucks ice hockey team players have tested positive for COVID-19.

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