The number of deaths from covid-19 may remain high in the coming months, if the current scenario remains, according to the special edition of the Covid-19 Observatory Bulletin of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), released today (16). The study shows that despite the slight downward trend since September, the country is still at a high level of cases and deaths.
The Bulletin shows that the curve of the evolution of cases and deaths by covid-19 in Brazil has presented, since the beginning of the pandemic, a different pattern from other countries. While in European countries, for example, the number of cases rose rapidly and, after reaching a peak, dropped sharply – now, the region is experiencing a second wave of contamination – in Brazil, the rise was slower and the descent is also being , according to the vice-director of the Institute of Communication and Information in Health (Icict), of Fiocruz, Christovam Barcellos.
“Which does not mean that we are free from the pandemic, it tends to decrease towards the summer, but still with a very high number”, says Barcellos. “Europe is beginning to experience winter. We are going to start living the summer, with numbers dropping, which perhaps means that the transmission of the covid-19 will have a little seasonal trend: it will be more intense in winter, like all flu, and less intense in summer ”.
According to the latest data from the Ministry of Health, Brazil recorded, until yesterday (15), more than 5.1 million confirmed cases and 152 thousand deaths by covid-19. “The permanence of the pandemic in the coming months may add some tens of thousands of new deaths in the country”, says the Fiocruz Bulletin.
Barcellos points out that it is not yet possible to neglect measures to combat the virus. “A lot of people have to leave home, whether to work, shop, find friends. They must, in any case, avoid agglomerations. Studies have shown that situations that have a lot of transmission are closed places, very close people, without a mask ”, he says.
The health system must also remain alert. “You have to keep some beds available in hospitals and reinforce what we call primary health care, reinforce the family’s health strategy, family clinic and health surveillance, doing tests, identifying people with the initial symptoms”, he adds.
The study highlights the need to strengthen the Unified Health System (SUS) and says that the assessment of installed capacity in the country to care for severely covid-19 patients revealed the great inequalities between the regions and the strong concentration of resources aimed at the sector supplementary health care in specific areas.
According to Barcellos, care cannot be abandoned even when there is a vaccine. “There are several diseases in circulation that have vaccines. Measles has a vaccine, but unfortunately there is a localized measles outbreak, either because people did not vaccinate or because the vaccine did not work 100%. Almost no vaccine works 100%, takes it and will never get sick again, it doesn’t exist in almost any vaccine ”, he says.
The vaccine against covid-19, according to the publication, should be considered an additional strategy and should not be understood as the only solution for facing the pandemic. Universal access to it is also important.
The bulletin shows that the majority of victims of covid-19 are the elderly, who represent 53.1% of the total cases and 75.2% of deaths by the beginning of this month, according to data from the Epidemiological Surveillance Information System Influenza (Sivep-Flu).
The impact of the pandemic in favelas is more pronounced than in other locations. Neighborhoods with a high and very high concentration of slums have a higher lethality, 19.47%, twice as much as neighborhoods considered to be without slums, where the lethality of the virus is 9.23%.
The data also show that blacks die more than whites, they represent 48.2% of deaths by covid-19, while whites represent 31.12%.
According to the bulletin, indigenous peoples are particularly vulnerable to covid-19 and its serious consequences, due to historical and socioeconomic factors. The mortality rate among indigenous people, depending on the age group, is up to 150% higher than that of non-indigenous people.
According to data made available by the Special Secretariat for Indigenous Health (Sesai), mortality rates due to covid-19 are progressively higher after 50 years of age among indigenous people, compared to the general population. “Such evidence warns of the tragic socio-cultural impacts of the pandemic, as older individuals are the guardians of traditional knowledge, languages and the memory of the historical struggles of these peoples,” says the study.
The special edition of the Covid-19 Fiocruz Observatory Bulletin, available on the internet, brings an analysis of the more than six months of the pandemic. The study, which was carried out by a multidisciplinary team of researchers from Fiocruz, covers the main aspects related to covid-19, whether social, economic, structural or epidemiological.