Still far from coronavirus spike and at the gates of the southern winter, Brazil walk towards a Perfect storm with the COVID-19 curve on the rise, the start of the influenza season, the end of the dengue and active outbreaks of others virus that he believed outdone, like him measles.
While the units are filling intensive care of hospitals, the president Jair Bolsonaro still immersed in a “political war” against the insulation measures of regional governments and in favor of a return to normality.
Two ministers of Health have fallen in this crusade in less than a month: Luiz Henrique Mandetta, staunch defender of the quarantines, and Nelson Teich, who refused to recommend the chloroquine for all kinds of coronavirus patients, as the far-right leader wishes.
Both were doctors and now, with the curve in full exponential escalation, the portfolio of Health is in the hands, on an interim basis, of Eduardo Pazuello, a Army general inexperienced in the area.
Until this Saturday, Brazil registered 233,142 confirmed cases of COVID-19, already surpassing Italy and Spain, and 15,633 deaths, reinforcing itself as one of the global foci of the pandemic.
The peak is expected to be reached in the coming weeks, although the coronavirus It will not be the only health emergency that the precarious Brazilian public health system will have to face.
AN “EXPLOSIVE” COMBINATION
The expansion of coronavirus, which arrived in Brazil in February, occurs amid other infectious outbreaks that have been worrying health authorities.
The country is now exceeding the dengue fever, transmitted by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which is also a carrier of Zika virus, the yellow fever and the chikungunya, which is usually in April and May.
According to the last bulletin of the Ministry of Health, so far this year 676,928 probable cases of dengue, with an incidence rate of 322 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, and 265 deaths.
Starting in June, with the arrival of southern winter, cases of dengue fever, but those of common flu and others respiratory diseases.
In 2019, Brazil, which has a population of 210 million inhabitants, registered 1,122 deaths for the three types of influenza, according to official data.
This year influenza and dengue are added the COVID-19 and with it the difficulty of differentiating each case, since the three viruses cause similar symptoms in the first days of disease.
“That combination is quite explosive “, explains Dr. Efe Adriano Massuda, professor of collective health at the private study center Fundación Getulio Vargas (FGV).
Mauricio Lacerda, a researcher at the São Paulo State Research Amparo Foundation (FAPESP), works at the hospital of Sao José do Rio Preto and ensures that “the prospects are Very bad“facing the winter.
“Here in the hospital we already have influenza patients, COVID-19 and of dengue, and we had deaths from three. It is a very complicated situation “and that it” overloads “the public network, he affirms to Efe.
To all this we must also add measles outbreaks that are still active in the five regions of Brazil: north, northeast, center-west, southeast and south.
So far this year 2,910 have been reported measles cases, almost half of them in the state of Pará, also one of the most affected by the coronavirus, and three deceased.
“Measles is returning to Brazil, It has low immunization coverage and may be just another problem, “says Massuda.
In 2019, there were 18,200 cases of measles and 15 deaths, 14 of which in Sao Paulo, today the Brazilian epicenter of COVID-19.
DENOUNCED LACK OF INVESTMENT IN THE HEALTH AREA
The challenge for the Unified Health System (SUS), which encompasses the entire public hospital network and on which the 75% of BraziliansIt will be enormous and even more so with the chronic financing problem that it suffers.
For Massuda, the fiscal austerity policy, which began with the Government of Michel Temer (2016-2018) and continued with Bolsonaro, has aggravated that situation.
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According to reports from human rights organizations, since a controversial budget spending ceiling was approved in late 2016, Brazil it has stopped investing in the health sector about 30,000 million reais (today about 5,170 million dollars).
Although the problem has dragged on before, since, according to these calculations, between 2007 and 2019, the lack of resources has led to a reduction of 49,000 beds. intensive care in the country.
“The laboratories of the public health system are dismantled and that is not six months ago, it is ten, fifteen years. That delayed the detection and diagnosis of the coronavirus and now the hospitals are going to pay a huge price,” says Lacerda. EFE