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The New York Times

Why is COVID Killing So Many Young Children in Brazil? Doctors Are Baffled

RIO DE JANEIRO — Fretting over a fever in her toddler that wouldn’t break, the mother took the young girl, Letícia, to a hospital. Doctors had worrisome news: It was COVID-19. But they were reassuring, noting that children almost never develop serious symptoms, said the mother, Ariani Roque Marinheiro. Less than two weeks later, on Feb. 27, Letícia died in the critical care unit of the hospital in Maringá, in southern Brazil, after days of labored breathing. Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times “It happened so quickly, and she was gone,” said Marinheiro, 33. “She was everything to me.” COVID-19 is ravaging Brazil, and, in a disturbing new wrinkle that experts are working to understand, it appears to be killing babies and small children at an unusually high rate. Since the start of the pandemic, 832 children 5 and under have died of the virus, according to…