On the other side of the country, more than 1,000 miles away, Santa Catarina State Health Minister Andre Motta sent a similar warning: “We have reached capacity!” In the north-east, Bahía State Governor Rui Costa said: “Our health system will reach its capacity, and Brazil will be in chaos in two weeks.”
While much of the world uses restraints and vaccines to try to tame Corona VirusThe outbreak in Brazil is worse than it has ever been. Deaths are on a new high, averaging 1,208 cases per day for the past week. Occupancy in public hospitals has reached its peak. Health systems in more than half of the country’s 26 states are operational or close to capacity. A highly contagious variant is prevalent and potentially more dangerous nationwide.
From the early days, the severity of the outbreak in Brazil distinguished the country from its peers. Under the anarchic leadership of President Jair Bolsonaro, the country is drained by internal divisions, stirred up by medical jugglers, unable to pull itself out of the abyss. More than a quarter of a million Brazilians are now dead, a number only surpassed by the United States. Country Vaccination campaign Swamp in shortages and delays.
“In this scenario, if nothing is done, by March, people will fight for hospital beds – and graves in the cemetery,” said Domingos Alves, director of the Health Intelligence Laboratory at the University of São Paulo in Ribeirao Preto. “We will need to open new cemeteries to bury the bodies.”
Health analysts warn that the global repercussions are significant. Brazil has shown its ability to produce new, potentially more dangerous, mutations for the Coronavirus. A variant known as P.1, which was discovered earlier this year, has a Stamped with the Amazonian city of Manaus, Which resulted in more deaths in January and February compared to the whole of 2020.
“If Brazil does not control the virus, it will be the largest open laboratory in the world for the virus mutating,” said Miguel Nicolelis, an epidemiologist and neuroscientist at Duke University. “It can be not only the epicenter of the epidemic, but the epicenter of the spread of more deadly and infectious variables. It is in the interest of the entire planet.”
Nicolelis was visiting his mother in his native Brazil when the Corona virus arrived. He thought he would be of more help here than in the United States, so he decided to stay and give advice. He’s been studying the numbers ever since. The moment he had feared and predicted long ago has now come: “All regions are in sync.”
When the virus hit Brazil last year, it first targeted cities, then spread to rural areas. This delay was a decisive break for Brazil. Healthcare systems are highly concentrated in state capitals. So by the time people from rural communities began flooding city hospitals, the facilities had time to regroup after the initial spike of patients in urban areas.
But the mass rallies during the country’s elections in November, then the holiday parties and finally Carnival All this has put much of the country on the same climb, pushing medical systems across the country to the brink of a precipice.
“It is the first time in Brazilian history that two-thirds of the medical systems in Brazilian capitals are collapsing at the same time,” said Nicolelis. “And I’m not talking about Manaus. I’m talking about Sao Paulo. Sao Paulo. The richest city in the southern hemisphere. It may take up to two weeks for it to collapse. “
Nicolelis and Alves have urged an immediate nationwide lockdown for three weeks to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe. “We will not be able to manage the bodies,” said Nicolelis. “We can either correct the situation in the country, or it will decline. This time, I guarantee that the abyss will be bigger than Brazil.”
But a nationally coordinated effort to control the virus appears unlikely.
Bolsonaro, who from the beginning urged Brazilians to ignore the pandemic, has sought in recent days to reduce the shortage of hospital beds, criticized new restrictions imposed by local officials, and worried about the side effects of mask use.
“They can harm the children,” he said late last week. “The masks have started to have side effects.” He said it included irritability, headache and difficulty concentrating.
Some cities imposed new restrictions, such as curfews in Brasilia and the closure of non-essential businesses in Porto Alegre. Health analysts say they are woefully inadequate. But commanders were extremely reluctant to shutdown completely. Unemployment is at its peak. The epidemic has plunged millions of Brazilians into poverty. The emergency cash payments made by the federal government last year have now been cut. In Brazil, a country with widespread inequality and social instability, lockdowns without additional benefits can breed hunger and violence.
Legia Bahia, a professor of public health at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, said the tragedy of Brazil was the triumph of doubt over reason and politics over science.
She said, “We are lost.” “Scientists, we lost. It ended up creating all this polarization.”
But she said there is plenty of time for the government and the people to act. Brazil once had one of the strongest vaccination programs in the developing world. It has the potential to vaccinate millions of people every day. The population is pretty much willing to receive it. And the vaccine is here.
However, Bahia is concerned about what the coming weeks will bring.
“It will definitely get worse,” she said. “There will be no stopping.”