Brazil is expected to pass the U.S.’s January high for COVID-19 deaths as the country experiences a deadly virus surge, Reuters reported.
On Tuesday, Brazil set a daily record for fatalities resulting from the virus, with more than 4,000 deaths reported in a 24-hour period. The country has been experiencing consistent daily death records since February.
The current surge is being attributed to a more contagious and rapidly spreading local variant, P.1, coupled with few virus-protection measures being implemented in the country, Reuters notes.
As the U.S. has increased its vaccination efforts, Brazil has shifted to become the world’s coronavirus epicenter. The U.S., however, still leads in overall deaths globally.
Data from Brazil’s Health Ministry shows the country has suffered nearly 337,000 COVID-19 deaths, while the U.S. has experienced more than 555,000 fatalities.
So far, the P.1 strain has accounted for a relatively small percentage of overall COVID-19 cases in the U.S.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes, however, that the strain, along with other mutations, could disrupt vaccination efforts.