One thousand one hundred forty-six: that’s the number of active COVID-19 cases in the country of Belize this evening. The Ministry of Health and Wellness reports that the tally increased today with one hundred nineteen new cases, which was partially offset by one hundred five recoveries. And again, Belize City reports the highest number of new cases in the country with forty-one of the seventy-one cases reported in the Belize District. While these numbers are worrying, PAHO and the WHO have added another variant to its variants of interest. The Mu variant has so far been detected in thirty-nine countries and as a result, was added to the watch list on Monday. Doctor Jairo Mendez Rico, a virologist at PAHO, explained that this strain was detected in Colombia in January.
Scientists and public health officials still do not know yet whether the Mu variant is more transmissible, or causes more serious disease. Here at home, there are still twenty-nine people are hospitalized and seven remain in intensive care.