The moving average of new cases of covid-19 in Brazil has been above 50,000 since June 25, when it started to grow continuously. The records took the total number of infections to more than 400,000 last week alone, a level very close to what was seen in the health collapse months of 2021.
The first time the country recorded so many cases took place in February last year, at the beginning of what would become the most serious period in the trajectory of the coronavirus in the national territory. In the following five months, more than 250,000 people lost their lives to Covid-19.
Currently, the increase in new cases tends to be even greater than official figures show. Health authorities have been warning for months about the growing underreporting with the use of self-tests. Unlike other nations, Brazil has not established mechanisms to include positive results from this type of examination in daily surveys.
As a result, municipalities, states and the federal government have no way of knowing the real proportion of new infections or the true rate of spread of the coronavirus on national soil.
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Family and community doctor Aristotle Cardona, from the National Network of Physicians and Popular Doctors, says that on the front line of the Unified Health System (SUS) the perception that the coronavirus is spreading more intensely is general and testing not enough hides the scenery.
“Given the national inequality that we have, in addition to this issue of self-tests, there are places where testing takes place in basic health units. But there are places where access has decreased. I use Petrolina (PE), where I work as an example. three, four testing points. Today, we have a testing point that is always full. There are reports of four or five hours for people to be tested. So people don’t go, they give up.”
vaccine saves lives
In the current scenario, the growth of deaths does not keep up with the intense pace of high cases. Vaccination has considerably reduced deaths from covid-19 and the number of patients in serious condition. Still, the records have gone up nonstop for three weeks. The daily moving average is above 200 since last Tuesday (28).
The country experienced a situation similar to the current one earlier this year and reached over 1 million new cases in seven days for two consecutive weeks in January. At the time, deaths from covid increased, but, as now, they did not reach the levels of the collapse period in 2021.
“It’s just that we don’t have very large hospitalizations because of the vaccine, the way it has advanced”, highlights Cardona. The doctor says that the government’s response to the current growth in cases is not enough.
“I don’t have the slightest expectation that government bodies, given the electoral period, given the political issues at the moment, will buy this fight and start demanding measures again. Of course, we keep talking (about protection) and talking to people. But It has been proven that this has limited scope if there is no public policy, if there is no stimulus beyond asking people to do it.”
Cardona also mentions the need to raise awareness among the population itself and the private sector in general. “We were hoping for common sense, but I have the impression that the opposite is happening. Every now and then I hear reports from patients that employers say, ‘even if you have covid’, come. We don’t know where this is going, but I don’t have doubts that we would need new policies at this point.”
Editing: Nicolau Soares