Dr. Eric Liang Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist from Harvard, has alerted people to the danger of the new Covid-19 variant called P.1, which has already claimed the lives of thousands of young people.
In an interview with 9News, Feigl-Ding said the United States first became aware of this new version at the end of January 2021. The new variant was first reported in early January among Brazilian travelers who had been checked during routine screening at an airport in Japan.
The latest version has engulfed the country to the point that tomb miners are excavating old tombs to make room for over 300,000 deceased patients. On March 27, more than 3,600 people died from COVID-19 in Brazil—a new daily record reports Al Jazeera.
The new strain is 150 percent more infectious than regular COVID-19 and mainly infects people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s.
Feigl-Ding states that Brazil could not afford to offer enough ICU beds to curb the massive burst of infected cases. “The deaths are soaring exponentially … like through the roof,” the Doctor said.
The new virus cases have flooded Brazil, prompting a warning to Australia that this strain is much more lethal than previous strains.
The version has already made its way to Canada, where it was detected in a Whistler ski resort popular with Australians. Also, 16 members of the Vancouver Canucks, a professional ice hockey team, have caught the virus.
“If professional, young athletes can get very sick from this virus … so can you,” Feigl-Ding warned. He suggested that Australia should still keep vigilant and be on the lookout for the P.1 strain despite the country’s initial success with tackling the pandemic. “We have commended countries that did well early in the pandemic … but we saw later on disaster hit,” he said.
In a The NewYorkTimes report updated on March 22, the lineage first appeared in late 2020 in Manaus, Brazil’s Amazonian capital. It soon prevailed over that city and later wreaked havoc on several other South American cities. The report found that the variant has infected up to 25 countries. In the United States, it has been detected in at least 18 states.
The CDC has warned that this strain can spread faster and easier than the original CCP (COVID-19) Virus.
It has also been discovered that P.1’s unique genetic mutations can impair the body’s ability to identify and combat the virus. Antibodies formed from previous COVID-19 infections or vaccinations were able to fend off the virus. Now though, the host body will be left vulnerable to this new strain as the antibodies lose their ability to detect the virus when it mutates.
“P.1 could be the variant that is the big troublemaker for the next surge,” Doctor Feigl-Ding anticipated.
“VERY ILL”—many players of the NHL Vancouver @Canucks are “very ill” with #COVID19, some confirmed to have the aggressive Brazil 🇧🇷 #P1 variant. The 14-player outbreak is “unexpected” and the team is in “tough shape”. Practices & games cancelled. BC 🇨🇦 has huge #P1 outbreak. 🧵 pic.twitter.com/3Bw6gEy23M
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) April 3, 2021