“The Gamma variant was maliciously created in Manaus by Bolsonaro’s herd immunity policy”

Brazilian researcher Lucas Ferrante testifies on the role of schools in spreading COVID-19

In this testimony for the Global Workers’ Inquest into the COVID-19 Pandemic, Brazilian researcher Lucas Ferrante, of the National Institute for Amazonian Research (INPA), discusses the role of the reopening of schools in Manaus, the capital of Amazonas, in the emergence of the Gamma variant during Brazil’s second wave of the pandemic in late 2020. This variant was responsible for two-thirds of all COVID-19 deaths in Brazil and spread throughout Latin America and internationally.

Ferrante also presents his record of public warnings about new outbreaks of the pandemic in Amazonas, predicted by his studies on epidemiological models. These warnings were systematically ignored by the local governments pursuing a herd immunity strategy in unity with President Jair Bolsonaro’s fascistic administration.

Below the video are some of the articles Ferrante uses and mentions in his presentation for the Inquest.

Ferrante, L.; Duczmal, L.H.; Capanema, E. et al. Dynamics of COVID-19 in Amazonia: A history of government denialism and the risk of a third wave. Preventive Medicine Reports, 2022.

Ferrante, L.; Duczmal, L.H.; Steinmetz, W.A. et al. Brazil’s COVID-19 Epicenter in Manaus: How Much of the Population Has Already Been Exposed and Are Vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2?. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, 2021

Ferrante, L.; Barbosa, R.I.; Duczmal, L. et al. Brazil’s planned exploitation of Amazonian indigenous lands for commercial agriculture increases risk of new pandemics. Regional Environmental Change, 2021.

Ferrante, L.; Livas, S.; Steinmetz, W.A. et al. The First Case of Immunity Loss and SARS-CoV-2 Reinfection by the Same Virus Lineage in Amazonia. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, 2021.

Ferrante, L.; Steinmetz, W.A.; Almeida, A.C.L. et al. Brazil’s policies condemn Amazonia to a second wave of COVID-19. Nature Medicine, 2020.

Vogel, G. Data in paper about Swedish schoolchildren come under fire. Science, 2021.

Brauner, J. M.; Mindermann, S.; Sharma, M. et al. Inferring the effectiveness of government interventions against COVID-19. Science, 2020.

Morais, F.G.; Sakano, V. K.; Franco M. A. et al. Filtration efficiency of a large set of COVID-19 face masks commonly used in Brazil. Aerosol Science and Technology, 2021.

Fan, Y.; Zhao, K.; Shi, Z.-L.; Zhou, P. Bat Coronaviruses in China. Viruses, 2019.

Read also the previous WSWS interviews with Ferrante: