With a mask and hospital clothes, a visibly impaired man is pushed in a wheelchair as he is applauded across a corridor made up of doctors and nurses. Owner of a small car shop in Itaim Paulista, far east of São Paulo, Edson Simões dos Santos, 45, had a covid-19 and spent 15 days in a coma in the ICU.
“I had no comorbidity, but I can tell you that I died and was born again. I went there and came back. During the time I was in hospital, I had the impression that there were mice biting me, that there was a coffin by my side. It was terrible “, he remembers.
Even after experiencing the most severe symptoms of the disease caused by the Sars-Cov-2 coronavirus, Santos is an advocate for the immediate reopening of trade. In his view, if all isolation precautions are taken, more people must die of hunger and other problems caused by economic stagnation than by the disease itself.
“The government closed several shops that generate many jobs and do not cause crowds. I have my store, where everyone could work away from each other and with few people inside, closed. But why don’t they also close the cellars here close to home? Also they do not prohibit the sale of beer at the gas station, where people smoke hookahs together and then take the disease home, “he said.
So far, Brazil has registered more than 730 thousand cases of covid-19. Among those contaminated, more than 38,000 died.
From the point of view of the trader, the most correct approach would have been to guide the population to wear a mask, isolate the elderly, close schools, theaters and prevent events with agglomeration. And only after closing the smaller businesses.
For him, the divergence of opinions between the federal, state and municipal governments only harms and confuses the population even more. While the president, Jair Bolsonaro, defends the reopening of stores, the São Paulo governor, João Doria, should only start easing the quarantine rules in Greater São Paulo from the 15th of this month.
The mayor of São Paulo, Bruno Covas, does not guarantee that trade will be reopened on the date promised by Doria. Everything will depend on a set of factors, mainly the offer of ICU beds in the city.
Meanwhile, the small trader’s biggest concern is how to stay financially until everything is resumed.
“I’m having to push my accounts. The bank agreed to extend it, but it puts interest on it and we suffer because of their political fight (government officials). If I stay another month closed, I break,” said Edson.
‘I did not believe’
The businessman did not believe in the existence of the coronavirus. He imagined that the disease was an invention, because he did not know anyone who was infected.
After spending a few days feeling lack of appetite, the trader started to feel cold and had a dry cough. He sought help from a pharmacy and, the next day, started spitting phlegm with blood.
At the hospital, he had a fever of 40º and an oxygen saturation of 70%, when it is normal to be above at least 95%. Doctors also found that his lung was weak, even though Edson did not report breathing difficulties.
At the hospital, shortly after taking the first drugs, the trader slept. When he woke up, he was in a diaper and connected to an oxygen tube. He was transferred from hospital, lost 17 kg during hospitalization and only learned that he was in a coma for 15 days when he got home, after 20 days in the hospital.
“I lost track of it. I lay there so long that I created wounds on my body. I had hallucinations that rats were biting me. When I saw these injuries, I was sure it was the rats. After I came home, I was quarantined week, isolated in a room, bandaging the wounds and physiotherapy, as I could not stand, “he told the report.
The three weekly physiotherapy sessions also serve to help with breathing, motor coordination and normalization of blood circulation. The merchant says he is still shaking, with a swollen foot and a numb toe. He will also have to do speech therapy exercises because the tube in his throat has affected his voice.
He says he has no idea where he got contaminated and that there was no other case of covid-19 in his family. The trader’s biggest concern was with his mother, a 75-year-old smoker.
Return to work
In a decree published last Friday (6/6), Mayor Bruno Covas determined that car dealerships may reopen in a special service scheme, with reduced hours and following the distance rules.
Edson will reopen the trade with his three employees. According to him, the store will not need to adapt, as it already has service desks far from each other. His concern is with the volume of sales.
“I think that this year, if I make money to eat it is a lot. There are a lot of unemployed people who won’t buy a car. The guy used to buy Uber and today he doesn’t buy it. Musician is dead. He can’t do a show, play in a bar and it all turns into a snowball. We can’t stop not to starve, but the economy will only come back next year “, he said.
Questioned by the report on the risk of overload in the public health system if commerce is resumed now, he replies that this system is already historically saturated.
“I would keep the trade open even with the beds full. The hospital always lives full. Health in Brazil is garbage. The country never had a structure. It is not because of this disease that hospitals will fill up. It has always been like that. a political and historical problem, “he told the story.
During the hospital stay, Edson says that isolation has also caused psychological problems.
“I was crying alone. Nobody will see you. The nurse enters the room just to draw blood and give medication. The TV shows all day that there are many people dying and that there is no vaccine. You feel like crap all the time” , he stated.
Outside the hospital, Edson says he had never received so many calls in his life.
“People I haven’t seen for more than 20 years have found my phone. Worried about me because a lot of people died. I didn’t believe in this disease myself. I started to give more value to life, to a hug,” he said.
He says his only request is for businesses to reopen “with great care and with a more aware and educated population”. And he reports meeting people, including a friend, who is already without food at home because of the crisis.
“If he doesn’t come back, a lot of businessmen will close. I know a person who already has an empty closet. Do you think he is more afraid of the virus or hunger?”
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