Vanda Ortega, an indigenous nurse, becomes the first person to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Amazonas state, Brazil. Courtesy Rede Amazônica. “Health professionals are physically and psychologically exhausted, and patients from Manaus and the interior of Amazonas state are queuing for beds. In a word, we are going through a crisis of unprecedented dimensions. Perhaps we are witnessing one of the most painful situations in the history of this pandemic.” These dire words were reported by phone on 14 January to Mongabay by researcher Jesem Orellana, from the Amazonia branch of the Brazilian Health Ministry’s Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (FIOCRUZ), one of Latin America’s leading health institutions. Bluntly put, the nation’s health care system is collapsing in Manaus, as it, and the rest of Amazonas state, are swept by a second horrific wave of the pandemic— maybe exacerbated by a new COVID-19 variant recently detected in the South American nation. Manaus made headlines round the world in April 2020 when its capacity to deal with high numbers of COVID-19 dead was stretched to the breaking point. Burials were carried out night and day then, as coffins were piled in collective graves. The crisis was finally brought under control in August. But, starting in late December, the coronavirus came roaring back and escalated tragically, with some health officials believing the Brazilian Amazon’s second wave will prove to be even more deadly. The Wayuri Indigenous Communication Network broadcasts information on radio about COVID-19 to Indigenous communities in the Rio Negro region. Image ©…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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