In Brazil, southern and central-western states that had been spared the worst of the outbreak so far are now seeing coronavirus cases rise rapidly.
Brazil surpassed two million cases on Thursday, and continues to report tens of thousands of new cases a day.
For most of the pandemic, the outbreak has been most severe in Brazil's populous southeast, coastal northeast and Amazonian regions in the north.
But now the south -- including the states of Parana, Santa Catarina, and Rio Grande do Sul -- has seen its new daily cases more than double compared to this time last month.
These three states have reported more than a hundred total deaths in recent days. A month ago, that number was only a few dozen.
"These areas have a different epidemiological timing, so they are now at the same place the Southeast and the North were two months ago, with the curve rising. And they probably will go through all the processes that the other parts of the country already went through,” Diego Xavier, a researcher at the Ministry of Health-affiliated Oswaldo Cruz Research Foundation, told CNN.
The population in Brazil’s south may also be more vulnerable to the novel coronavirus. "The South's population is more elderly than in the rest of Brazil, and elderly people are at greater risk for Covid-19,” said Xavier.
- In Mato Grosso, 92% of public healthcare ICU beds are occupied, according to the local government.
- In Rio Grande do Sul, 75% of ICU beds are occupied, and the number of confirmed cases grew 132% in the past month, according to the state government.
- In Minas Gerais, a southeastern state, the number of cases has quadrupled in just one month, going from 21,728 in June to 82,010 in July.