On the eve of completing one year of the first case of covid-19, this Thursday, 18, Brazil reached the mark of 10 million infected by the virus. The number now stands at 10,028,644 cases. The speed of spread of the disease followed the line of growth announced by the researchers. It took eight months to reach 5 million cases and almost half that time for the number to double. Even with the hope of the vaccine, experts heard by Estadão estimate that the country will still face challenges before the slowdown of cases. Brazil is the third country in the world to reach the mark, behind the United States and India.
The first million people infected in Brazil were reached in June last year, when scientists from various parts of the world were working on studies to come up with an immunizer that would stop the spread of the virus. Information on the importance of wearing masks, social distance and hygiene measures, such as washing hands or using gel alcohol, had already been widely disseminated, but the country entered an escalation of cases, which were reflected in a high number deaths.
“It would be all different. But we have been, from the beginning, following a series of disobedience to restrictive measures and this ends up leading us to what we are living in today. The more we see people saying that they have the right to move and not wearing a mask, we have, in terms of biology, the formation of new mutations and, with these variants, we will end up being caught by something that had not been programmed. Last year, when he started quarantining until a vaccine was reached , it was due to the possibility of attending cases that came up, flattening the curve and maintaining genetic stability in the virus so that it wouldn’t have too sudden changes. People got tired of the pandemic, but it didn’t get tired of us “, says Benilton de Sá Carvalho , professor at the Statistics Department and coordinator of the epidemiology front of the task force Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp) against covid-19.
Carvalho says that trying to estimate how the disease will spread in Brazil is not an impossible task, but a challenging one, given the number of variables that would need to be taken into account. “We are talking about that phase of exponential growth. What ends up happening with this numerical behavior is that, if today there was one case, tomorrow there are two, then four. At this speed, it reaches a point that accelerates too much”, he says.
“In our case, it is more complicated (to estimate) due to the difficulty of accessing information, be it surveillance, like the days of symptoms, or the information on testing and vaccination, all variables are important to measure” says Sá Carvalho. ” The fight for emergency aid is another matter. The absence will make people circulate more, bringing new variants.”
In Brazil, there is already a record of circulation of the British variant and, in Amazonas, another variant has also emerged, P1, which has already been detected in other states, such as Rio, Ceará and Santa Catarina. São Paulo has already detected cases of the two strains.
Another point of concern is the population’s immunization, which has been done slowly because of the scarcity of doses. As of Wednesday, 17, 5.4 million people had been immunized, according to a statement from the Ministry of Health.
“Because of the low speed of vaccination, we should not see these effects as soon or as quickly as Israel. We have about 3% of people vaccinated in Brazil. I am not positive that we will have an effect after July and it will be complicated because , until the second semester, we will go through winter and the number of respiratory cases, not only covid, increase in May or June by default. “
In Israel, more than 40% of the 9 million inhabitants have already received the vaccine against covid-19. Almost two months after the start of the immunization campaign, the results are already showing and the country has already registered a drop in the number of critically ill patients (38%), of deaths among the population over 60 (40%), from hospitalized elderly (58%) and general hospitalizations (44%) in relation to January.
In the United States, which also had an explosion of cases, the number of new cases dropped by 39% in the past two weeks, driven by mass vaccination.
“Vaccination is slow because the demand for vaccines is extremely high and we do not have enough doses. We received an offer of 70 million doses from Pfizer, which was missed. There was a brutal error in logistics and putting the investment in something that science says it is ineffective “, says Carvalho, referring to” early treatment “, even indicated by President Jair Bolsonaro, made with medicines that studies have already proven are not effective against the virus.
Strategic isolation is effective even with new variants
When the pandemic started, social detachment was soon pointed out as a strategy to contain the spread of the virus. Brazil did not experience the lockdown, but witnessed the opening and closing movements of establishments in European countries. The “stay at home” was adopted by some and criticized by others over the past year. However, social isolation is an important tool to prevent the spread of the virus, including new variants. It just needs to be thought out strategically, according to Airton Deppman, a researcher and professor at the Institute of Physics at the University of São Paulo (USP).
He conducted a study last year that pointed to the virus’s spreading model. Instead of using the SIR standard, which is more used to describe the evolution of a pandemic over time and which considers susceptible, infected and removed people (due to death or vaccination), a model called fractal was used, which evaluated the spread through groups .
“This model started with an analysis of the epidemic data in March and April last year, collecting data in different regions of the world, such as China, Europe, the United States and the State of São Paulo. We saw that the best way to analyze was not through the SIR, which is the oldest and most traditional. In the SIR, if you have an infected person, he is likely to infect anyone, but we know that a person in São Paulo has a minimal probability of contaminating another who is in Manaus. difficult to use to explain the epidemic in a large population. Our model considers that an individual will infect a small group and these individuals will infect other groups that have contact with other groups of people. “
From these results, according to him, it is possible to design more effective models to contain the virus. ” The contamination process depends on the number of contacts and that is more important than decreasing the efficiency of the virus, even for the new variants. This model offers opportunities to evaluate more intelligent strategies of social isolation, because, if a very isolated isolation is imposed general and prolonged, people cannot follow, as we saw at the carnival and at the end of last year. What we learned is that the population, in general, cannot achieve strict isolation and that contamination is, in largely regional. “
With the monitoring of bubbles, testing and isolation at points that really need, in addition to vaccination, the tendency is for infections to fall.
“My impression is that the population is adapting based on the information that the government transmits. With a mathematical model, it is possible to design forms of mobility restriction that are more efficient to prevent the spread of the virus and without harming a very large number of people, observing where it needs more rigorous distance, how the bubble spreads and in which region it needs to do more tests to see if the isolation is being effective “, suggests Deppman.
‘I thought my organism would react faster’, says professor who was hospitalized
Early childhood education teacher Amanda Vello do Paraizo, 41, expects to leave the hospital on Friday, the 19th. 15 days ago, she showed the first symptoms of covid-19 and, since the 12th, has been hospitalized. She had fever, tiredness, prostration, nausea and vomiting. After the diagnosis, he stayed at home, but needed assistance three days later. “I was feeling very tired and coughing a lot. I had new tests and my oxygenation was low. I had a CT and X-ray, which showed that 50% of the lung was affected. I was not intubated, but I was afraid.”
Her biggest concern was because she also has diabetes, which made her a more at risk of complications. Throughout the pandemic, care was taken to avoid infection, such as wearing a mask, hand hygiene and avoiding crowding. “I was always very careful because of diabetes. I went out very carefully, but I had a doctor’s appointment with the endocrinologist and went with my daughter to the hairdresser. And the market, which was always there.”
Amanda says that the disease is not mild. “I felt very weak. I thought my body was going to react faster. I had a very cold fever, it was very uneasy.” In the family, only she was infected. “My husband took the test and it was negative twice. My parents, my aunt, who I have a lot of contact with, didn’t have. Neither did my 9-year-old daughter. It’s being difficult to stay without seeing her. I hope to find you soon. “