The number of children aged 5 to 11 diagnosed with severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) went up by 309 percent between the first week of February and the last week of March.
SARI can be caused by pneumonia or influenza, though it is also an indicator of Covid spikes. Marcelo Gomes, a coordinator at InfoGripe, which monitors respiratory diseases in the country, says the uptick is probably linked to the return to in-person school classes.
Another key factor is the low Covid vaccination uptake among children. SARI cases have been down among adults – the vast majority of whom have been immunized.