According to a report released Friday by the government biomedical institute Fiocruz, younger Brazilians are increasingly affected by COVID-19, with 20-year-olds showing the largest increase in deaths so far this year.
It found that the number of deaths from COVID-19 among people between the ages of 20 and 29 increased by more than 1,000% between the beginning of this year – before the start of the vaccination campaign in Brazil – and the first half of April.
According to the study, deaths between the ages of 30 and 39 increased by 819%, while deaths between the ages of 40 and 49 increased by 933%.
Brazil has been hit hard by the pandemic this year, with slow introduction of the vaccine, piecemeal restrictions nationwide, and a highly contagious new variant of the virus known as P1 driving new infections.
Fiocruz said the rise in younger deaths could be explained by a relaxation of restrictions or a general “exhaustion of imprisonment”.
“The need to return to work face-to-face or to seek livelihoods, given the worsening economic crisis and unemployment rates,” could also be a factor, he said.
Like Brazil, Canada and many other countries are seeing an increase in new, more transmissible virus variants and have reported that young people are bearing the brunt of COVID-19 hospitalizations, unlike the pandemic’s early beginnings, when the elderly were the most affected.
According to the study, the average age of hospitalized patients was now around 58, up from 62 at the beginning of the year. The average age of those who died from the disease had dropped to around 65, up from 72 in January, he said.
The study showed that the situation in Brazil remains dire.
Fourteen states and the Federal District have combined ICU employment rates above 90 percent, while seven states have levels between 80 percent and 89 percent, it found.