Omicron brings renewed pressure on Brazil’s hospitals

Sao Paulo, Jan 26 (EFE).- The advance of the Omicron variant of coronavirus in Brazil is driving daily infections to their highest level since the Covid-19 pandemic began in March 2020, an institution affiliated with the health ministry said Wednesday.

Occupancy of intensive care beds exceeds 80 percent at public hospitals in seven of Brazil’s 27 states, while ICUs in 12 other states are more than 60 percent full, according to the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), Latin America’s leading medical research center.

The worst situation is in Brasilia, the nation’s capital, where every ICU bed is occupied and 13 Covid-19 patients are on a waiting list.

Figures from the health department in the Federal District indicate that more than 90 percent of those hospitalized with coronavirus in Brasilia were either not fully vaccinated or not vaccinated at all.

Fiocruz said that new cases are averaging 150,000 a day.

On Jan. 19, authorities registered 204,854 new infections in a 24-hour period, a new record for Brazil, which is third globally in the number of cases with 24.3 million.

Covid-19 has claimed 624,000 lives in the South American country, whose death toll is second only to that of the United States.

Tuesday saw an additional 487 coronavirus fatalities, the most in a single day since November.

Even so, public health specialists say the situation is much less serious than during the worst of the Delta wave in May 2021, when Covid-19 deaths topped 4,000 a day.

The absence of an increase in deaths commensurate with the surge in cases is attributed to the progress of vaccination, as nearly 71 percent of Brazilians ages 12 and higher are fully vaccinated. EFE


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