In an incident that could call into question everything health experts think they know about the spread of the coronavirus, a teen from an isolated tribe in the Amazon has died after testing positive for COVID-19.
The 15-year-old boy, a member of the Yanomami tribe in the village of Rehebe, lost his battle against the virus on Thursday, according to Brazil’s Ministry of Health. Although the tribe comprises an estimated 38,000 people, its members are mostly cut off from the rest of the world.
Health experts with the Socio-Environmental Institute suspect the coronavirus may have been introduced to the tribe by illegal miners who traveled outside the territory, although the theory hasn’t been proven. Regardless of where the virus came from, health officials are concerned of its impact on tribal members, who haven’t built up strong immune systems due to their isolation.