Photos show how Brazil is coping with its worst COVID-19 surge yet that's infecting mostly young people

Rebecca Harrington
·4 min read
brazil coronavirus covid-19
Carlos Alberto places his hand on the coffin that contains the remains of his 41-year-old wife Aparecida de Freitas, who died from complications related to COVID-19, at a burial service in the Inhauma cemetery, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Thursday, April 15, 2021. AP Photo/Bruna Prado

Every day since February 25, Brazil has recorded more than 50,000 new cases of the coronavirus - even reaching as high as 100,000 daily cases. It's the country's highest surge since the pandemic began, and it doesn't show signs of letting up.

brazil coronavirus covid-19
A 43-year-old patient suspected of having COVID-19 is transferred from an ambulance into the HRAN public hospital in Brasilia, Brazil, on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. AP Photo/Eraldo Peres

Sources: Johns Hopkins University, The New York Times

A contagious variant of the virus known as P.1 is thought to be driving the surge, and more young people are getting infected. The majority of COVID-19 patients in ICUs last week were under 40.

brazil coronavirus covid-19
Medical workers take care of patients in the emergency room of the Nossa Senhora da Conceicao hospital that is overcrowding because of the coronavirus outbreak, in Porto Alegre, Brazil, on March 11, 2021. REUTERS/Diego Vara/File Photo

Sources: Insider, Insider, The Guardian, CBS News

One nurse in Sao Paulo told CBS News she's seeing more patients in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, and that most of them don't survive once they're brought to the overcrowded ICU.

brazil coronavirus covid-19
A patient arrives to the Municipal Hospital Albert Schweitzer amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on April 15, 2021. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

Source: CBS News

Although 32 million vaccine doses have been administered, Brazil has a population of 212 million. Only 11.8% of people have received at least one dose, and only 3.8% of the population is fully vaccinated.

brazil coronavirus covid-19
In this April 13, 2021 photo, health workers exchange information as COVID-19 patient Everton Nascimento de Oliveira, 32, lies in an emergency unit bed of a field hospital in Ribeirao Pires, greater Sao Paulo area, Brazil. AP Photo/Andre Penner

Sources: Brazil's Health Ministry, Reuters

Deaths are higher than they've been at any point during the pandemic. Another 3,560 people were reported dead from the disease or complications from it on Thursday.

brazil coronavirus covid-19
The remains of a woman who died from complications related to COVID-19 are placed into a niche by cemetery workers and relatives at the Inahuma cemetery in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo

Sources: Johns Hopkins University, Reuters

Funeral service workers protested in Sao Paulo this week, asking for more protection. "We want to live! We want vaccines!" this protester's sign reads.

brazil coronavirus covid-19
A funeral service worker protests for better work conditions and health and safety measures in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on April 15, 2021. REUTERS/Carla Carniel

Funerals are an all-too-common sight. Only the US has recorded more deaths throughout the pandemic, but deaths in the US have been declining as more Americans are vaccinated.

brazil coronavirus covid-19
Relatives pray during the funeral of COVID-19 victim Paulo Ferreira Campos, 57, at the Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery in Manaus, Amazon state, Brazil, on April 15, 2021. MICHAEL DANTAS/AFP via Getty Images

The sheer scale of graves in the city of Manaus is staggering.

brazil coronavirus covid-19
Aerial view of graves of COVID-19 victims at the Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery in Manaus, Amazon state, Brazil, on April 15, 2021. MICHAEL DANTAS/AFP via Getty Images

It's hard to conceptualize what 365,444 deaths may look like, but these aerial photos help provide a glimpse.

brazil coronavirus covid-19
Aerial view of graves of COVID-19 victims at the Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery in Manaus, Amazon state, Brazil, on April 15, 2021. MICHAEL DANTAS/AFP via Getty Images

Yet some are still trying to bring some joy amid the heartbreak. Military police officer Everaldo Pinto donned a Captain America costume to hand out face masks and teach children how to avoid contracting COVID-19 in a city north of Rio de Janeiro this week.

brazil coronavirus covid-19
Military police officer Everaldo Pinto, dressed as superhero Captain America, distributes kits equipped with cleaning products and protective face masks to children amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Petropolis, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil, on Thursday, April 15, 2021. AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo

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