Commonly known as the “Indian variant,” the dreaded B.1.617 coronavirus mutation has officially arrived in Brazil. The World Health Organization classifies B.1.617 as a significant threat due to its high potential for contagion.
It’s widely suspected of playing a huge role in the brutal coronavirus surge across India in recent months and has already spread to dozens of countries. In the United Kingdom — where cases are on the rise — the government upgraded the mutation to a “variant of concern,” the highest level of official alert.
And this new, more aggressive variant couldn’t have arrived in Brazil at a worse time. Experts predict a new surge of infections and deaths, and vaccination continues at a snail’s pace, with one in five cities facing shortages last week.
Listen and subscribe to our podcast from your mobile device:
- Euan Marshall is an editor at The Brazilian Report and also hosts the Explaining Brazil podcast in the absence of Gustavo Ribeiro.
- Follow our Covid-19 live blog to keep up to date with the most important news related to the pandemic in Brazil and Latin America.
- Vaccination is slow, and is about to get slower in Brazil.
- After cases and deaths showed a moderate improvement at the end of April, states and cities rushed to reopen their economies. Just weeks later, infection numbers are rising once again, writes Charlotte Peet.
- Before Brazil, Argentina’s Health Ministry reported that three tourists tested positive for the Indian and South African coronavirus variants.
- Shipments of vaccine inputs from China have stalled, and authorities in São Paulo blame President Jair Bolsonaro’s Sinophobic statements.
- The inefficacy of chloroquine against Covid-19 is a foregone conclusion in most countries around the world. Except in Jair Bolsonaro’s Brazil — where it is at the center of the government’s pandemic response.
- After three weeks of depositions, the Senate’s Covid inquiry has struggled to corner former government officials. Committee members have plenty of work still to do and piles of evidence to analyze, wrote reporter Débora Álvares.
- The Central American nation of Costa Rica set an example for its neighbors to follow during the early stages of the pandemic. But cases are rising and the local health system is struggling to keep up.
Do you have a suggestion for our next Explaining Brazil podcast? Drop us a line at [email protected]