Professor Pedro Américo was affectionately called Pedrinho. The diminutive in the name contrasted with the grandeur of a lifetime dedicated to sports adapted for people with disabilities. Street vendor Paulo Roberto spoke three languages and loved playing stringed instruments. Before he left, he was cared for by his daughter, Samira, a hairdresser who also missed her relatives, 11-year-old son and clients.
Stories like Pedro Américo, Paulo Roberto and Samira were interrupted after being infected by the new coronavirus. Since March 29, when the first death was confirmed by Covid-19 in Belo Horizonte, they have been added to another 1,229 people who died of the disease in the capital of Minas Gerais. Even with more than a thousand deaths, the capital is the second lowest in mortality rate per 100 thousand inhabitants No brazil (see below).
According to the epidemiological and assistance bulletin released by the Municipal Health Department, men represent 56% of deaths registered in the capital. At least 82% of the people who died were elderly; 97% had a previous illness.
Despite being elderly, retired professor at UFMG Pedro Américo Souza Sobrinho, Pedrinho, was a healthy athlete. But he failed to escape the statistics and ended up being part of the 3% of deaths by Covid-19 that had no comorbidity. “He didn’t smoke, didn’t drink and was an athlete all his life”, says his nephew, Tiago Enes.
Pedrinho tested positive for Covid-19 in late August, after the worst period of contagion of the disease in BH, which experts say it was in July. He was 71 – he would be 72 on September 7. He spent two weeks in a hospital in Belo Horizonte, but he did not resist and died on August 24th.
Over about 40 years of work and studies, the teacher became a reference in the rehabilitation of paraplegics and quadriplegics, combining physical therapy and physical education. One of her students, now also a teacher Cláudia Barsand de Leucas, said that Pedrinho was always seen with a wheelchair through the corridors of UFMG.
“One of the most generous people I met, always very welcoming, very connected to the cause of people with disabilities, infected us with all this interest in the area. Outstanding generosity, competence and intelligence, ”she says.
Father of three, Paulo Roberto Dias Câmpara, 75, still needed to have the energy to walk the streets of the neighborhood where he lived, Santa Cruz, in the Northeast Region of Belo Horizonte. He sold popsicles to supplement the family’s income. Paulo Roberto had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, but continued to smoke a pack and a half of cigarettes a day.
In early June, Paulo Roberto was admitted to the Northeast Emergency Care Unit with pulmonary emphysema and pneumonia. His health worsened and he had to be referred to Odilon Behrens Hospital. Over there, tested positive for Covid-19.
While hospitalized, he received the care of his 40-year-old daughter Samira Diniz. She ended up contracting the coronavirus and had to be admitted to the Eduardo de Menezes Hospital, which is a reference in the care of patients with Covid-19.
Paulo Roberto did not resist and died on June 13. Samira also worsened in her condition and, even though she was not at risk, she died four days after dad.
Deaths of more than one family member are not uncommon. And they mark the routine of experienced doctors, like Carlos Starling. The infectologist, who serves patients with the disease in three hospitals in the capital of Minas Gerais, came to monitor the death of father, mother and daughter with a few hours difference.
“It was dramatic. It still has been. You see a lot of people hospitalized and interned. The situation is still very complicated. There are families getting infected. People going to the hospital, in all walks of life. There are families that have been decimated – father, mother, son die ”, he laments.
Second lowest mortality
According to data obtained by the press consortium, Belo Horizonte is the second capital of the country with the lowest mortality rate. There are 48 deaths per 100 thousand inhabitants. He is tied with Palmas and loses only to Florianópolis, which had 25 deaths per 100 thousand inhabitants.
See the number of deaths in each capital
Data per hundred thousand inhabitants
Source: IBGE and Press Consortium
* The calculation was made based on data from September 25
For infectious disease specialist Carlos Starling, who is part of the Coping Committee to Covid-19 in Belo Horizonte, the strict social isolation adopted in the capital of Minas Gerais at the beginning of the pandemic contributed to reduce contagion and, consequently, the mortality rate. According to him, initial estimates pointed to 5,000 more deaths than registered.
Infectologist Adelino de Melo agrees and adds that the slower contagion allowed health professionals and that the hospital network be prepared to provide cares.
“We managed to organize with some advance and more efficiently. We had the transmission of the virus a little later than in the other capitals of the Southeast. This allowed us to keep the number of cases within the total that the system health care to absorb “, he said.
The epidemiologist and professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), Waleska Caiafa, monitors hospitalization data for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SRAG), which is one of Covid-19’s etiologies, and deaths from the disease since the beginning of the year. For the researcher, thes official data show that the disease has not gone out of control in the capital of Minas Gerais and that, now, there is a tendency for deaths to fall from the disease.
“The information disclosed is quite accurate, with adequate disclosure time. We are working with reported deaths for hospitalized patients, since serious cases have gone to the hospital and there was no problem of overcrowding here in Belo Horizonte. We still have a relatively high level. Every week, we observe a drop, but we still need to observe it ”, he said.
Ricardo Takahashi, professor of the mathematics department at UFMG, who follows the evolution of coronavirus contagion, stated that deaths in the capital of Minas Gerais evolved very close to the most optimistic scenario that was estimated at the beginning of the pandemic.
“We released, the day before March 20, the first projection, in which it took parameters of the pandemic known in China and outlined three scenarios considering the reality in Belo Horizonte. The first scenario showed that, if we did nothing, the system would collapse. The second foresaw the reduction of transmission in half, and then the catastrophe would be less. And the third scenario predicted the transmission fee to be a quarter of the original value. This favorable, peaceful scenario was similar to what we ended up seeing until now”, He stated.