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Covid Is Killing Young Children in Brazil, Baffling Doctors

#COVID19 is ravaging Brazil, and, in a disturbing new wrinkle that experts are working to understand, it appears to be killing babies and small children at an unusually high rate.

Experts believe Brazil’s overloaded hospital system and uneven access to health care are among the reasons babies and small children are succumbing to the virus at a high rate.

There is no evidence available on the impact of variants of the virus — which scientists say are leading to more severe cases of Covid in young, healthy adults and driving up death tolls in Brazil — on babies and children.

But experts say the P.1 variant, which has spread widely in Brazil, appears to be leading to higher death rates among pregnant women. Some women with Covid are giving birth to stillborn or premature babies already infected with the virus, said Dr. André Ricardo Ribas Freitas, an epidemiologist at São Leopoldo Mandic College in Campinas, who led a recent study on the impact of the variant.

“We can already affirm that the P.1 variant is much more severe in pregnant women,” said Dr. Ribas Freitas. “And, oftentimes, if the pregnant woman has the virus, the baby might not survive or they might both die.”

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