Brazil’s COVID surge sparks regional fears | Daily News

Brazil’s COVID surge sparks regional fears

Almost a year ago to the day, the jungle city of Manaus grabbed international headlines after a flood of COVID-19 deaths forced gravediggers to dig mass burials – catapulting the city into the centre of Brazil’s coronavirus outbreak.

Those scenes are now being repeated throughout Brazil, where authorities are working day and night to bury the dead, with experts warning that the country’s funeral services could be the next to topple.

Since the start of the year, an uncontrollable second wave has pushed Brazil over the 300,000 death mark. As the country continues to hit grim milestones – a record 4,247 deaths on Thursday alone – the entire South American nation is now the global COVID-19 epicentre, with experts warning that 5,000 Brazilians could lose their lives in a single day in April.

Much of the fear is being directed to the P1 variant, linked to the Brazilian Amazon. If Brazil cannot control its high transmission rate, experts fear the country’s healthcare tragedy could endanger the world. If the virus is left to circulate freely, it could create the ideal breeding ground for new and even more deadly variants.

Brazil’s neighbours have sealed off their borders to the country in a desperate attempt to prevent new variants from bleeding into the rest of the continent and harming vaccine efficiency.

“We’re very concerned. The staggering amount of deaths in Brazil in just a few months is our biggest worry,” virologist and researcher Humberto Debat, from the National Institute of Agricultural Technology told Al Jazeera.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is increasingly being blamed for undermining the severity of the virus. (Al Jazeera)