“We’ve seen mobility rise throughout the year, we’ve seen restrictions that are in place flexed aggressively, we saw some schools go back in February despite Covid, and a growing political divide over whether they are needed at all,” he said.
“On top of that, while Carnival was mostly cancelled throughout the country, that doesn’t stop people from having their own parties or events or getting together to see their friends. So, that points to a complicated picture. But our impression is that P1 is having a significant impact on top of everything else – it’s made a bad situation much worse.”
International experts have warned Brazil’s experience should sound alarm bells for the rest of the world.
“When people ask, ‘how bad could it be?’, I mean, we’re seeing how bad it can be,” Prof Devi Sridhar, chair of global public health at the University of Edinburgh, told The Telegraph.
She added governments should take three main lessons from the emergency of P1: that “an uncontrolled epidemic and an absence of strategy is absolutely dire”; that border restrictions should be tough for the next six months until vaccines make travel safer; and that vaccination campaigns need to accelerate.