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The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 P.1 lineage coincided with a surge in hospitalisations in the North region of Brazil. In the South region’s Rio Grande do Sul state, severe COVID-19 case numbers rose 3.8 fold in February 2021. During that month, at a COVID-19 referral hospital in this state, whole-genome sequencing of a subset of cases’ specimens (n = 27) revealed P.1 lineage SARS-CoV-2 in most (n = 24). Findings raise concerns regarding a possible association between lineage P.1 and rapid case and hospitalisation increases.


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