Uptick in Covid-related hospitalizations in São Paulo puts experts on alert

Covid-related hospitalizations São Paulo
Photo: Isaac Fontana/Shutterstock

The number of Covid patients requiring hospitalization has increased over the past four weeks in São Paulo — as did the number of severe cases putting infected people in intensive care units. Experts fear a new Covid wave could be brewing in Brazil, similar to those which have hit Chile and Argentina.

After a steep deceleration in recent months, the number of patients in São Paulo ICUs jumped from 402 to 516 between May 9 and 17. Covid deaths have also increased, from a seven-day daily average of 17 to 47.

The peak could also be associated with the sharp decline of temperatures across the country, which helps airborne viruses spread as people seek closed spaces to shelter against the cold. 

São Paulo has one of Brazil’s highest vaccination rates, with over 93 percent of the state’s population protected by at least two shots. Because of that, by the end of March, São Paulo Governor João Doria decided to make the use of face masks no longer mandatory. Even at that time, when cases were slowing down, experts were skeptical about the move.