Most COVID-19 ICU patients in Brazil are now under 40 years old. Experts think the spread of a variant is to blame.

Most COVID-19 ICU patients in Brazil are now under 40 years old. Experts think the spread of a variant is to blame.
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  • Younger people in Brazil are being hospitalized in ICUs with COVID-19.
  • A new COVID-19 variant found in the Brazilian Amazon could be to blame, one expert said.
  • The variant is more contagious than the original variant.

Most of Brazil's COVID-19 patients in ICUs last week were under 40, the country's Association of Intensive Care Medicine said.

And while it's not entirely known why younger patients are now being hospitalized with COVID-19, a Brazilian expert told The Guardian that a new variant found in the Brazilian Amazon could be to blame.

"It's clearly connected to the P1 variant," said Marcos Boulos, an infectious disease specialist from the University of São Paulo told The Guardian.
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Boulos said the variant is spreading quickly and that younger people are being sickened by the disease.

The P.1 coronavirus variant has spread to at least 36 countries and is about twice as contagious as the original COVID-19 virus, according to the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID). A study published Wednesday found the P.1 variant is able to reinfect those who already caught the coronavirus. Felipe Naveca, a Brazilian researcher at public-health body Fiocruz, said the variant may also have mutations that could make vaccines less effective.

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