CNN’s Matt Rivers reports on a coronavirus variant that originated in Brazil and has caused two-thirds of their recent infections.
The variant has now been identified in the US for the first time.
Manaus, Brazil (CNN)The tense quiet outside the small hospital in Iranduba, Brazil, shattered when the ambulance rolled up.
Inside, medics give a woman CPR in an ultimately futile attempt to save her life. A hospital source told CNN she died soon after being brought inside.
In the four hours that CNN spent outside Hospital Hilda Freire on Tuesday morning, three Covid-19 patients died.
The chaos has become the norm here this month. What’s happening in this underequipped hospital, surrounded by the Amazon rainforest, is a small example of a new, massive Covid-19 outbreak engulfing northwest Brazil.
How is this happening again?
Not far from Iranduba is the epicenter of this new outbreak, Manaus. The capital city of Amazonas state often referred to as the gateway to the Amazon, its main connections to the rest of the world by plane or boat.
If the city’s name sounds familiar, it could be because it was the scene of one of the world’s worst Covid-19 outbreaks in April and May. The health care system collapsed and images of thousands of newly dug graves became emblematic of Brazil’s coronavirus crisis, its death toll now second only to that of the United States.
The current situation is worse than ever. January has proven to be the deadliest month of the pandemic in Manaus by far.
In May, 348 people were buried here, the worst month until now. Through just the first three weeks of January, that number stood at 1,333.
While genomic testing is not widespread in Manaus, scientists tell CNN that evidence suggests a new virus variant mixed with government inaction to create a tragic perfect storm.
Aerial view of an area at the Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery where graves has been dug in Manaus in May 2020.