Brazil has more young than old patients in intensive care for coronavirus

Brazil has more young than old patients in intensive care for coronavirus

The number of COVID-19 patients under 40 in intensive care surpassed that of older age groups in Brazil last month, a researcher said Sunday, amid a deadly virus boom driven in part by a new variant.

The number of people aged 39 years or younger admitted to intensive care units for covid-19 increased considerably in March to more than 11,000, 52.2% of the total, according to the UCI Project.

At the beginning of the pandemic, this figure was only 14.6%, and between September and February, 45%.

“Before, this was a population that normally only developed a less severe form of the disease and did not need intensive care. So the increase in this age group is very significant,” said Dr. Ederlon Rezende, coordinator of the project, an initiative of the Brazilian Association of Intensive Care Medicine (AMIB).

He said several factors could be driving the increase.

Patients over 80 years of age, who went from 13.6% to 7.8% of the total in intensive care in Brazil in March, are now mostly 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 believe they are less vulnerable, he said.

Another factor may be a variant of the virus that originated in Brazil, known as P1, which experts say is partly responsible for the number of deaths from COVID-19 in the country skyrocketing in March.

The figures suggest that P1, which can re-infect people who had the original strain of the virus, may also be more virulent, Rezende said.

“Younger patients, and without pre-existing diseases, are coming to intensive care units also with more severe cases” of the disease, he told AFP.

The number of patients in intensive care without pre-existing diseases increased by almost a third in March, to 30.3% of the total.

And the proportion of patients connected to ventilators by the pandemic reached a record 58.1% in March, according to project data.

Brazil recorded more than 66,500 deaths from covid-19 in March, more than double the country’s previous monthly record, in July 2020.

The disease has claimed some 351,000 lives in this country of 212 million people, a death toll second only to that of the United States.

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.