Brazil reels as COVID-19 cases soar; hospitals, economy under pressure

 

RIO DE JANEIRO/SAO PAULO, Jan 14 (Reuters) – Brazil is suffering a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases as the Omicron variant spreads through the country, putting pressure on health services and weighing on an already sputtering economy.

Insufficient testing and a data blackout caused by hackers have made it harder for experts to track the spread of the highly contagious variant in Brazil, but there are increasingly clear signs it is hitting Latin America’s largest nation hard.

Confirmed cases have almost doubled since last week, with the rolling average for the past seven days surging to 52,500, from 27,267 last Wednesday.

Experts believe the actual number is much higher, due to a shortage of tests and patchy systems for reporting and public disclosure of data.

So far deaths – at around 120 a day – remain far lower than last year, when Brazil was briefly the global epicenter of the pandemic with more than 3,000 deaths per day.

 

 

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