The exponential growth in the number of cases of people infected with the new coronavirus in Amazonas has led the state to an unprecedented crisis in its health system.
On TV, we follow scenes that we would rather never have seen. The lack of beds and supplies in hospitals worked as an SOS, plus one, on the extreme severity of the pandemic – apparently normalized by many.
But the numbers cannot make us inert.
Two weeks after haunting the world with the lack of oxygen in health facilities, Amazonas has become the federation unit with the highest mortality rate from Covid-19 in Brazil since the beginning of the pandemic.
There are 171.87 deaths per 100 thousand inhabitants, crossing the indexes of the State of Rio de Janeiro, with 166 deaths per 100 thousand inhabitants. In absolute numbers, Amazonas only loses to São Paulo, even with a population ten times smaller.
It is still discussed to what extent this increase in cases may be a reflection of a new strain of coronavirus, supposedly more transmissible. What is certain is that this strain is already spreading across the country. Still in late January, a genetic sequencing at the Adolfo Lutz Institute showed that the new variant was found in three patients from São Paulo who had traveled to Manaus.
Judging by what has been happening in the United Kingdom, this mutation of the virus is still worrying – after all, the number of deaths at the end of January, in the moving average, here in Brazil, has been the highest in five months, with a bias of high.
All of this leads us to a series of measures – emergency and structural.
Initially, it is essential to mobilize large companies for the country to reverse this curve.
From an emergency point of view, in Manaus, any contribution that minimizes the health crisis in the capital, which concentrates more than half of the state’s population, is valid. There are already records of several praiseworthy measures, including donations made by home appliance and electronics industries in the Manaus Free Trade Zone and other companies in relevant sectors such as retail, automotive, beverages, finance and civil aviation.
Grupo Ser Educacional has also been promoting emergency actions: purchasing supplies for hospitals, opening a shelter for family members who live in other regions of the state, making buildings available at UniNorte (Centro Universitário do Norte) to be used as points vaccination, in addition to the installation of solidarity tents where free legal, psychological and physiotherapy support will be offered to family members of victims hospitalized with Covid-19.
It is a social responsibility action that already has the support of non-governmental organizations and the local media.
These measures contribute, of course, to mitigate the crisis. But they will be insufficient if there is no major mobilization to accelerate the National Immunization Plan.
We live in the age of knowledge and science. It is very important that the relevance of vaccination is spread. More incisive communication is needed to publicize the individual and collective benefits of the vaccine – both health and economic.
From the health point of view, the first news is encouraging. In Israel, where the campaign has reached more than 40% of the population, there has been a 60% drop in hospitalizations for people over 60, according to Maccabi Healthcare Services. Of that survey, approximately 0.01% of a large group of people who received two doses of the vaccine (Covid-19 from Pfizer) tested positive for the new coronavirus after the second injection – and these patients had only a mild illness.
In the United States, a Goldman Sachs report also points to a statistically significant inflection in the hospitalization trend, which, according to the report, shows the positive impact of vaccinations in December, most of them concentrated in the elderly population in nursing homes .
From an economic point of view, it is clear that people will only be able to have predictability to live freely, run their businesses and plan their future when there is security. Economy Minister Paulo Guedes himself recently stated that mass vaccination is a critical success factor for the economy’s performance. In a statement the same week, the Federal Reserve (Fed, the US central bank), said it believed that the economy would recover later this year as vaccines were more widely distributed and began to control the pandemic.
Therefore, it is essential that attention is focused on progress in vaccination here in Brazil. It is a sensitive point for the investors’ appetite, as well as the continuity or not of some measure of aid to the economy without losing the fiscal balance.
Until the hundreds of millions of vaccines reach the population, the country needs a greater emphasis on highlighting something basic: masks save lives.
This has even been quantified. In Germany, a survey released in December showed that, in German municipal districts where the use of masks is mandatory, there was a drop, on average, of 45% of new infections 20 days after the adoption of the measure, with a greater reduction in cases among people over 60. Regrettably, what is seen in several Brazilian cities is that many people have failed to fulfill this basic requirement to avoid the transmission of Covid-19, which leads to an overload of health systems and the back and forth of lockdowns.
To a greater or lesser extent, the private sector has done its part. In 2020, companies invested in an unprecedented way in digital transformation and Ser Educacional is an example of this, quickly inserting students, teachers and other collaborators in this digital environment, with remote classes, home office and automated procedures – we have an investment plan for R $ 150 million in digital education for 2021 alone.
What Brazil needs now is for everyone to do their part.
Only then will the country be able to have full conditions for a sustainable economic recovery that guarantees people its most inalienable prerogative: the right to life.